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The Girl Who Smiled Beads

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After - Clemantine Wamariya
Wow, as I read this novel, I was exhausted. Clemantine had lived quite an extensive life, a life which seemed to be always on the go, a life where she couldn’t get too comfortable because they would soon be moving on.
I felt a bit overwhelmed as Clemantine moved around in this novel. She moved with her sister and soon-to-be her sister’s family as they ran to safety countless times, throughout the novel. I was glad that Clemantine had her older sister Claire with her, although at times they didn’t always agree, for she was family and she felt safe with her. I think Claire tried her best to provide for them and she really tried.
I loved Claire’s personality, her relentless attitude for trying to succeed and to make a better life for herself and her family. Her motivation was a positive note in this novel as I read. The way that she popped out of every situation, the way she kept one set of clothes for dressing up, the way she spoke which was sometimes different than she normally spoke; these all said something about the way she wanted to be seen in the world and the way she wanted to be treated. I respected that. Claire treated her children and her husband according to how her culture expected her to treat them.
Clemantine was young and she tried to find her way in the cruel world that she was living in. I was surprised how mature she was in handling the situations that she was faced with. She didn’t become emotional, like some children might, but she clung onto what she knew she had for support.
I liked what her mother told her about sharing. How everyone needed to share what they had, no matter how small it is. How when people isolate themselves, the world becomes dull and cruel. But to share of yourself, that is when you will have equality amongst everyone.
This was a book I found hard to follow sometimes, as the book goes forwards and back in time and I had to stop and find my place a few times before continuing. It’s sad to read a story about this topic but it’s a blessing to read about individuals who come into the lives of these victims and open up their hearts and homes to help them. The destruction was personal, physical and emotional, one that will never be completely healed. I appreciate the author sharing her story.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.