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Rose, St Helen and St Katharine

The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow is the story of a Burmese refugee called Subhi, written in his own words. He is living in an Australian detention centre and has never known any other life. He was born there after his mother fled Burma when the soldiers came. He vividly depicts the horrors of living in the refugee camp, where they have numbers instead of names which denies them of their personalities. They are beaten if they do not do what the guards want and there is no mercy. Some quotes which show Subhi’s despair are: “We are the rats. Left out to rot so no one else bothers to try.” However, he has a close friend in the camp called Eli who looks out for him. Part way through the book, Subhi meets Jimmie, a girl from the nearby village, with her own secrets to tell. The sparrow is a constant theme throughout the book, entwining the imaginations of both Jimmie and Subhi and giving them that ray of comfort and hope. An example of this is: “Waking up new and starting again.” I liked the front cover because it showed a sparrow breaking through lines of numbers and letters and tearing the page. The book is hard hitting with drama and tragedy, but a good read. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the food that Jimmie shared with him from “The Outside”. Subhi, overwhelmed, describes it as, “all sun setting sweet and shell pool cool.” He describes it in language from his own limited experience. We take our food and shelter for granted, but this book really opened my eyes to the hardships refugees must face every day.

Posted on: 24th April 2017 at 09:54 am

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