What I’m Reading: The Lightless Sky

I just finished up reading the book The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee’s Extraordinary Journey Across Half the World by  Gulwali Passarlay.  I grabbed this one off the shelf as I thought I might learn a little when reading.  I often like non-fiction as long as it reads like fiction…silly I know.  Anyway I thought this book had promise.

This telling the harrowing story of a 12 year old boy whose mother sends him and his brother from their home country of Afghanistan to the hands of smugglers with the hope that the boys will make it to England and into freedom.  As a mother myself it is hard for me to imagine living in conditions that are so terrible that I would feel that is the best option for my child.

I had no idea how hard it is to enter another country….no idea how many people there are in the world who are willing to profit from the suffering of others.  The book left me really being thankful to be an American.

Here’s what Amazon had to say, “A gripping, inspiring, and eye-opening memoir of fortitude and survival—of a twelve-year-old boy’s traumatic flight from Afghanistan to the West—that puts a face to one of the most shocking and devastating humanitarian crises of our time.

“To risk my life had to mean something. Otherwise what was it all for?”

In 2006, after his father was killed, Gulwali Passarlay was caught between the Taliban who wanted to recruit him, and the Americans who wanted to use him. To protect her son, Gulwali’s mother sent him away. The search for safety would lead the twelve-year-old across eight countries, from the mountains of eastern Afghanistan through Iran and Europe to Britain. Over the course of twelve harrowing months, Gulwali endured imprisonment, hunger, cruelty, brutality, loneliness, and terror—and nearly drowned crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Eventually granted asylum in England, Gulwali was sent to a good school, learned English, won a place at a top university, and was chosen to help carry the Olympic Torch in the 2012 London Games.

In The Lightless Sky, Gulwali recalls his remarkable experience and offers a firsthand look at one of the most pressing issues of our time: the modern refugee crisis—the worst displacement of millions of men, women, and children in generations. Few, like Gulwali, make it to a country that offers the chance of freedom and opportunity. A celebration of courage and determination, The Lightless Sky is a poignant account of an exceptional human being who is today an ardent advocate of democracy—and a reminder of our responsibilities to those caught in terrifying and often deadly circumstances beyond their control.”

Amazon readers gave the book 4.6 stars.  I would say 4.3 stars.  It was good…very good.  The book did get long but the journey was a really long journey…so to tell the truth and full story I think the story needed to long so the reader too could feel a little of the frustration.  It’s so sad what happened after he carried the Olympic Torch.  I don’t know why people have to be like that.


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