Gut Check

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

In a nutshell, John Green’s words express exactly how I feel about this novel…This is simply one of those books that everyone needs to read. There have been moments in my life where I have been extremely self-absorbed. This novel is like a gut check. After reading this story, I was left with questions like, “What am I complaining about”, “Do I really need that” or “Am I living with significance”. The story is told vividly, and with such truth. What is the What by David Edgars is a book for humanity. 

Photo by Pixabay on

Valentino Achak Deng describes his journey from his hometown in Maril Bai, Sudan to Atlanta, Georgia. This is a true account of his experience living during a 20-year civil war conflict between Sudan’s government and Sudan’s People Liberation Movement.

This story is a page-turner from beginning to end. Author David Edgars quickly pulls the audience into Deng’s experience of being robbed upon his arrival in the United States. The reader immediately feels a sense of empathy. Deng has troubled through so much to make a life in the states. Why does he, of all people, have to experience the dark side of American culture. As he is being held at gunpoint, he reflects on days of surviving on one meal day in Kakuma, a Kenyan refugee camp. There is sadness in the fact that he compares the evils of his past with the evils of his present. The story also reveals the perversion and viciousness of war. How, in this civil war, children were taken advantage of and often unprotected. Deng describes an experience of when a woman who poses as help, beckons him to run to her only to reveal that her true intentions were to kill him. Yes, this story has very despairing moments but, oddly, the overall tone of the novel is hopeful. It’s hard to believe that Deng survives his journey. But, he does; thanks to the help of so many. Let this book challenge you to think beyond struggle and to value every good day on earth that has been given.

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