Page Count: 224
Published on: May 27, 2014
Published by: Skyscape
Genre(s): YA, Poetry, Cultural, Realistic Fiction, War, Fiction, Historical Fiction
My Rating: 3 stars
The Good Braider was selected as the 2013 Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year and a book of Outstanding Merit.
In spare free verse laced with unforgettable images, Viola's strikingly original voice sings out the story of her family's journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine. Here, in the sometimes too close embrace of the local Southern Sudanese Community, she dreams of South Sudan while she tries to navigate the strange world of America—a world where a girl can wear a short skirt, get a tattoo, or even date a boy; a world that puts her into sharp conflict with her traditional mother who, like Viola, is struggling to braid together the strands of a displaced life. Terry Farish's haunting novel is not only a riveting story of escape and survival but the universal tale of a young immigrant's struggle to build a life on the cusp of two cultures.
The author of The Good Braider has donated this book to the Worldreader program.
During the month of July, I participated in 3 read-a-thons. One of them being the Biannual Bibliothon. During the BiBib, I read 3 and a half books; one of them being The Good Braider. I originally got this from my high school when the high school librarians (love you guys!) gave out the paperback copies of the Eliot Rosewater books to those who read 5 or more of the books that were nominated. This was one of the books that didn't go to a home at the end of the day.
I had been saving this book for July because there are usually challenges that revolve around novels in verse. This was probably the only book I had that was in verse. I read this book and, unfortunately, I wasn't impressed. This book was alright, but I've read other novels in verse that I adored. I think the main problem that I had was that I wasn't familiar with the history that this book was focused on. I plan on doing some research on this time period (which was fascinating to read). While reading this book, I, unfortunately, was a bit confused about what was really going on historically, but after I read the historical blurb at the end of the book, I learned a bit more about this time period.
The writing alone deserves 5 stars, but if I configure in my reading experience I think it would be around a 3-star rating. Viola/Keji's voice was gorgeous and I loved the way she narrated her story. The writing was so lyrical and lovely. I really loved the cultural aspect of this novel and I loved the bits and pieces about her culture and how her life changed when she left Juba. Farish did her research with this book, and for that, alone, she should be applauded. I don't think it was anything regarding the book or the writing that brought the rating down, I think it was just me. This is one of those books that you have to be familiar with the subject matter and be in the mood for. I don't think I was in the mood when I started this book. I found myself just trying to finish it because it was short. I wasn't in the mood and I was uneducated when it came to the history. (I hate that.)
If you love history, the African culture, and novels in verse; you will love this book. Comment down below if you love this book! Let's talk books!
Happy reading everyone!