BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, August 4, 2014

Steph Reviews Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti By Ted Oswald

Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer
Format Read: E-Book
Source: ARC from the publisher
Release Date:  July 22, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository*Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:

When a mother and her infant are murdered on the outskirts of Cité Soleil, Haiti’s most infamous slum, two unexpected detectives emerge: Libète, a brash and headstrong girl of ten, and her brilliant but impoverished friend Jak.

Though made rough-and-tumble on the slum’s streets where gangs, police and U.N. peacekeepers have long battled for control, the murders stir Libète unlike anything she’s seen before. With the dead quickly forgotten as the community limps on in its grinding struggle to survive, Libète resolves to pursue the truth despite the costs, plunging headfirst into an insidious plot that will threaten her and everything she holds dear.

A profound journey set against the calamitous backdrop of modern-day Haiti, join Libète as she struggles to find herself and justice in an unjust world in Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti

Steph's Thoughts:

"Because We Are" caught my eye because I have never read a book about Haiti that did not contain Voodoo or zombies. I thought this might be a nice change.

What I liked about this book was that is really shows how the people in Haiti live. We all saw the pictures of the aftermath of the earthquake and pictures of the sad eyed children but the author takes us on a journey into life in Haiti. How the people live and survive in everyday life. This is the part of the book that drew me in and kept me reading.

However, this is supposed to be a book for adults not teenagers or tweens and that is where things fell flat for me. When I was young, I loved stories about kids my own age solving crimes but as an adult, I could not find this scenario believable. Libète is an interesting girl and the story of her surviving day to day life after her mother dies is something I could find myself absorbed in. Even some misadventures with her best friend, Jak, would have been interesting if it could have been believable. I guess as an adult, I have watched too much CSI to believe that a child could solve a murder. I do believe that in a country rife with gangs and corrupt cops/politicians that it would be hard to get justice for a poor murdered girl and the police might do little to nothing to solve the murder. I might have believed the story more if Libète was older than ten. If she had been older, even into her teens, I would have found the story a bit more believable.

The other thing I had some problems with was the flow of the story. The author jumps from the past when Libète’s mother dies and she comes to live with her aunt to the present with the murder of a young girl and her baby. Many times, I found it hard to follow either story because there is not much warning between jumps. You get sucked into one part of the story and it jumps into the other story.

Overall, the author paints an incredible picture of actual day to day life in Haiti and that part of the story I loved. I just did not find the part about an average ten year old girl playing detective very believable.


  1. I love adult books that are told from the pov of a child. But it's hard to do and only a few authors can actually pull it off (example of it done right-Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series).

  2. It is a shame you had difficultly believing the tale as it was told. I do love the setting.


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