This is honestly one of the most poignant, powerful books I have read in years. “How Dare the Sun Rise” is, in short, the memoirs of Sandra Uwiringiyimana chronicling how she and her family survived the massacre of a refugee camp and their transition as refugees into American society.
Uwiringiyimana begins her story with the history of her people and her parents: from their clan history, to their marriage, to Sandra’s birth. You come to love the young, innocent girl playing with her brothers and caring for her sister in their happy African home. As war began to have an impact on their lives, the family fled their home for a refugee camp.
The stories of their journey are hard to read at times, but Uwiringiyimana writes in a blunt, yet optimistic way that draws you into her mind as a child, softening the horrors that she encountered.
Through a United Nations refugee program, she and her surviving family found their way to safety in upstate New York. Yet, while they had survived massacres and starvation, illness and injury, the ethnic disconnect that their family faced took its toll. The language and cultural differences raised different challenges for each of the family members.
This book is powerful and painful. The people that I have told about this book have often had the same reaction: “that sounds… heavy” or “I’m not sure that’s really my kind of book”. If you’re thinking that, then you are living a very sheltered life- I know I was. Reading this book made me think, made me relive all of my conversations with people struggling to assimilate to American culture, and motivated me to do more to help those in need.
Uwiringiyimana makes you think about the privileged life you have lived and all of the times you chose not to act or to speak out. Yet somehow, she does it with humor and makes you feel like it’s okay to be privileged. You will finish this book feeling empowered and motivated and wanting to do everything you can. I think that’s important in the world today.
“How Dare the Sun Rise” is a must read this month. It is good for ages 16 and up and is an essential book in society today. If you’re looking for a gift for a loved one or for yourself, this is perfect book to start the summer off with a bang!
I read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy which is the pre-publication edition of a book sent out by publishers for review and publicity. The reviews I leave here are my honest opinions of the books I’ve been reading and have really enjoyed. I’m not payed to say any of this, I just liked the books! If you liked the review, let me know! If you have any particular requests for genres, authors, or titles, I’d be happy to oblige. Keep your eyes open for more reviews like this coming soon, there are some great books coming out in the next few months!