book review

The Bone Sparrow // Review


Well, this is the most heartbreaking book I’ve read so far this year, and I feel like it could easily stay on top in that regard. If you haven’t heard of The Bone Sparrow, then you need to know that a.) it’s about the refugee crisis (it’s specifically set in Australia) and b.) it’s very eye-opening. Oh, and c.) it’s heart-breaking. (And for those reasons, I feel kind of guilty for only giving it three stars).

But despite the three star rating, I do highly recommend reading The Bone Sparrow.

Zana Fraillon - The Bone Sparrow.jpg

 So why do I want everyone to read this book?

It’s because it’s a book that everybody needs to read. I mean, just consider the number of historical fiction books there are out there addressing the atrocities of, for example, World War II. It’s really important that we educate ourselves about those events, and so it’s fab that all those books exist. But what about the books about the here and now?

We live in a world where atrocities still happen every day, and the refugee crisis is a massive issue that the majority of us don’t realise the reality of. Sure, we switch on the news and hear about refugees, we have compassion for them, we pray for them, but what do we really know about the way they live? About the detention centres they live in? About the way they’re treated? Personally, I knew barely anything about the grim reality of refugees’ lives and so this book was a real eye-opener.

So, yeah, go read it.

But if you need to know a little more about the book and what I thought of it:

  • Subhi, the main character, is about ten years old, and all he knows of the world is his refugee camp – it made me so sad at how little of the world he’s been able to experience
  • also, the experience he has had of the world is tragic – the conditions in the camp are described in detail and it’s horrific
  • although the book really showed the reality of the situation, it doesn’t have much in the way of a plot – I think the book focused more on the hard-hitting reality of refugees’ lives than a gripping plot
  • Subhi befriends a girl who lives “on the Outside” – honestly, I wasn’t particularly interested in her chapters, but it was lovely to see their interactions
  • the writing is rather lyrical, which usually I’m not a fan of, but here I quite liked it – it definitely showed off Subhi’s youth and innocence

The Bone Sparrow really touched me, and I’m definitely going to go educate myself more. The book’s afterword recommends checking out Amnesty International, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and UNHCR as starting points, so I will definitely be having a look at those. And they’re great websites to look at until you manage to get your hands on this book!

Have you read The Bone Sparrow? What did you think of it?


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