peace is the milk of birds

Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton to say about this book. It’s not even that it’s bad; it’s just unremarkable, I suppose. It’s about two girls, one in Virginia and one in an IDP camp in Africa. Girl #1 sponsors Girl #2, and they write letters to each other. It becomes a little more plausible by introducing a friend of Girl #2 who has been educated and can take dictation, plus translators who convert the Arabic letters to English.

So Girl #1 has issues with school and learning, not to mention daddy issues after an ugly divorce. The letters, of course, teach her to put things in perspective, because there are people with far worse problems than she. Girl #2 is very young and pregnant post a rape experience, and her letters are just so full of brightness and compassion for Girl #1 anyway. How sweet.

Actually, now that I write this, I see my problem with this book. I requested it from Edelweiss because the conflict in Sudan is something I feel I need to know more about, and I also thought it would be a way to get more in touch with the experiences of some of the kids I worked with in Tucson who were refugees from Somalia, Chile, and other places. I suppose that happened, but this book is also about white people pain, and how as soon as you see a poor person of color whose situation is worse than yours but who just has a sunny outlook on life, you have a purpose in life.

Because Girl #2, Nawra, seems fake to me. KC, Girl #1, I actually like, as far as YA characters go. I think she’s different, and it’s not often you see someone with her character traits. So that’s cool. But I would have preferred an equally as developed (okay, Nawra is developed, just fakey developed with Magical Negro qualities up the wazoo) character in the world I actually wanted to learn about.

Basically, The Milk of Birds is the “Pray” section of Eat, Pray, Love, and I don’t need any more of that business.


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