The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

I loved the back and forth of this memoir. the writing was amazing. What an amazing journey she went through
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I was expecting a much a deeper connection with such a powerful topic and a personal story!

Though I enjoyed the story in general it was hard for me to fully connect with it.

3.5-star

What to expect?

- Powerful relevant topics
- Interesting facts
- Impeccable writing

However, also expect ...

- LOTSA of telling
- Events told in a somehow dispassionate and emotionless way
- Uneven pacing due to Dual timeline that

Even though I totally understood Clemantine’s emotions the writing and the voice came out too angry and choppy and it was hard for me to connect with Clemantine and her story. Also there is a lot of irrelevant stories, telling and very few dialogues and the dual...

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Socks officially knocked off!

Best book I’ve read this year, hands down, and it goes on my all-time favorites list. Intense, upsetting, sobering, this story got under my skin in a big way. I can’t stop thinking about, I can’t stop talking about it.

One day Clementine is playing happily with her siblings in the yard of her comfy and loving home in Rwanda, the next day she and her 15-year-old sister Claire are running for their lives.

Chapter 1 opens with this:

“When I was a regular child, I lived in Kigali, Rwanda, and I was a precocious snoop.”

A few pages later she says:

“My days were filled with the indignations of being young and spoiled.”

And then the war started. Her...

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My Thoughts: Wow! The Girl Who Smiled Beads is everything at once: a heartbreaking, terrifying story of war and genocide and an inspirational story of a girl fulfilling her destiny. Clemantine Wamariya’s memoir smoothly alternates chapters between the six years she and her sister, Claire, wandered Africa in search of safety and a place to call home, and the years after they gained refugee status in the United States. This dual timeline kept both parts of her story in balance.

At only six years old, Clemantine and her 15-year old sister fled their home, their country to escape the war and massacres that were ravaging Rwanda. Clemantine was too young to truly understand, but she was not too...

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This is the powerful and poignant memoir of a young girl as refugee and survivor of the Rwandan massacre. This is not a graphic horror story, but a thoughtful exploration of how this young girl evolves into a young woman in the U.S. White privilege, body image, soul searching and Oprah Winfrey factor in so that there is connection on many levels. The narration changes as Clemantine matures, evolving as she does from random child like observations to philosophy of Sebald. A wonderful book that has my mind and sense of soul whirring. There is much to offer many readers.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
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5 brave, bold stars to The Girl Who Smiled Beads!

The Girl Who Smiled Beads has been the memoir I’ve most anticipated reading this year, and when I finally got to it, it was just after reading a fictional account of the genocide in Rwanda, In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills by Jennifer Haupt, which is definitely a favorite of mine. The Girl Who Smiled Beads was a fitting complement to In the Shadow, and I experienced on a more visceral, individual level the pain, fear, sacrifice, and absolute terror experienced by Clemantine and her family.

This book is easy to read due to the exceptional writing, and I found it hard to put down; however, at times, I had to in order to absorb the abject...

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The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After is destined to become a modern classic. It is that powerful. It is that important.

The book is beautifully written, raw, stark and haunting. It tells a young girl's insider view of the Rwandan genocide and her experiences as a refugee before coming to the USA. Wamariya does an excellent job of absorbing the reader, taking us with her as she learns about the many different cultures of the 7 African countries she journeyed through on her way to settling in the US. Seeing America through her eyes and her pain, is equally riveting.

Wamariya is full of questions, anger, bitterness, and fear. How can anyone who has lived her...

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When Clemantine was a young girl, the war in Rwanda broke out forcing her and her teenage sister, Claire, on a perilous escape across several African countries. They faced hunger, abuse, poverty and frightening refugee camps in order to stay alive. Ultimately, they ended up in the United States and after reconnecting with their family, on Oprah, Clemantine is forced to come to terms with the who she is and what she has survived. This book excels at presenting the "after." Her thoughts and feelings while dealing with seemingly well-intentioned Americans prove that no one can really understand what a war refugee is going through internally. I received a digital ARC of this book...

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5++ stars

I had plans for today but first I decided to sit and read for an hour. Many hours later, I closed the last page of this book. I simply could not put it down until I had read every word of this powerful memoir.

Clemantine was born into a comfortable middle-class family in Rwanda. At age 6 she and her older sister were forced to flee the ethnic killings. She spent the next 6 years moving from country to country, from refugee camp to refugee camp. Life in the camps was living in filth, infestations with lice and burrowing larva, dysentery, constant hunger, lack of sanitation and proper nutrition….living a horror we cannot even begin to imagine.

At the age of 12, due to her...

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Heart wrenching eye opening look at the life of a genocide refugee .Her life in America adjustment fitting in Amazing the bravery the strength this young woman has, #netgalley #crownboojs
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THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS by Clemantine Wamariya is one of the best memoirs I’ve read recently. It is about the author’s experience living as a young refugee following the Rwandan genocide. These incredibly harsh memories are interspersed with the “after” — several years later when she is living in relative privilege in America. The stark difference between her life as a refugee and her life as a scholarship winning, Oprah mentee is obviously a huge source of discomfort for Wamariya. And really it should be for all of us. Definitely recommended!
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4.5 stars .

I read very few memoirs, but felt I should read this one after recently reading a novel about the Rwanda genocide which made me realize of how little I knew of it. In this book, we are exposed to it head on, with excruciating honesty . So many people killed but what about those who escaped? This book focuses on the story of one family, about how two young girls ran from the murderers and endured horrible conditions in refugee camps. Clementine at six years old is sent by her parents from her home with her older sister Claire to family in hopes of remaining safe . But the men appear there too and they must run. The narrative alternates between her present as a teenager in an...

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The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya is a must read. I actually want to shout that sentence out loud: PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a memoir of genocide, survival, and learning to live again, reconciling life events and the trauma associated with them. I’m never going to be able to do this book the real justice that it deserves in this review, so I just want to preface it again with: please just read it.

Clemantine was 6 when the Rwandan genocide started in 1994, and her parents sent her and her 15 year older sister Claire to their grandparents as a way to keep them safe. When the murderers came knocking on their grandparents’ door the girls managed to get...

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This was an absolutely AMAZING and moving memoir that has certainly left me changed. I cannot wait to add this to my non fiction section of my classroom library. Books like this resonate once again how powerful the written word can be and how a raw and deeply moving narrative can reach not only our hearts, but leave imprints on our soul.
 Clemantine, you are a beautiful soul and courageous to put into words your very personal journey. The challenges that you, your sister, parents, and other family members have faced and continue to face. You're a true teacher.
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Clemantine and her sister were separated from their family while war was ravaging their country, Rwanda. For six years they found themselves fleeing from one refugee camp to another in Africa. Often living in squalor with very little to eat. Eventually being granted refugee status in American, the effects of the war are deep and there were times when I found myself angry at the Clemantine for being so angry and spiteful to anyone who was interested in her story or trying to help her. However, no matter how I felt towards her, she was revealing her true emotions and process for how she was dealing with everything she had gone through. No sugar coating here, she tells it as she feels it...

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The Girl Who Smiled Beads

A Story of War and What Comes After

by Clemantine Wamariya; Elizabeth Weil

Crown Publishing

Crown

Biographies & Memoirs

Pub Date 24 Apr 2018

I am reviewing a copy of The Girl Who Smiled Beads through Crown Publishing and Netgalley:

At six Clemantine Wamariya began to hear her parents started speaking in whispers, neighbors began to disappear and she heard the loud ugly sounds her brother tried to convince her was thunder. In 1994 she and her fifteen year old sister Claire fled the Rwanda Massacre and spent six years migrating through seven South African countries they were hungry, imprisoned and abused enduring and escaping Refugee Camps, they saw both...

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This was an intense read. This is a book where the author poured so much of her story into the writing you can't help but be transported into the sometimes horrifying scenes, unable to believe that these events occur. Yet her story is inspirational and quite human, letting us all know we are the same even though we experience different struggles.
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Oh, I have such a difficult time reviewing Clemantine Wamariya's memoir, should one be much older than 28 to write a memoir? Clemantine at 28 lived a life time, yet as she tells her readers "what is next". The title THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS has it's origins from a fairytale without ending, urging a child to ask what is next... Next arrived when Clemantine age 4 and her sister Claire age 15 escaped into a sweet potato field, away from family and friends, away from Rwanda and the most horrific genocide in modern times...traveling on foot from refugee camps to refugee camps, places of hunger, diseases, death. Death of body, death of spirit, death of self. Many years passed...

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This was such a fascinating, engulfing, inspirational book. I have read books about the Rwandan genocide before but the way this book was laid out with the time jumps from Clemantine's journey throughout Africa and to her time spent in the United States was very easy to read. I found the writing style very enjoyable and while the topics discussed are not easy to read I found that they were told in a way that conveyed the harsh reality, but it wasn't too disturbing. Overall I really liked this book and loved the story that it told.
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This is a remarkable book with a remarkable story. Clementine fled Rwanda during the genocide at the age of six with her older sister, Clare. For years, they traveled as refugees all around the African continent. Along the way, Claire marries and has children, and eventually make their way to the US. The narrative splits between their life as refugees in Africa and their life following arrival in the US.  Clemintine’s perseverance, hard work, good luck, bad luck and privileges are interwoven in this well-drawn narrative. In particular, I appreciate how raw her anger, how frustrating her ambivalence comes across on the page. This is a book that will stick with me for a great while.
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