What They Meant for Evil

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Member Reviews

We've heard of the Lost Boys. Rebecca Deng is one of the Lost Girls of South Sudan, a survivor of the Sudanese civil war. Her village, in what is now South Sudan, was totally destroyed in the Bor Massacre of 1991. Thousands were killed and a hundred thousand were displaced during that time. She is one of 89 girls who was able to leave the refugee camp and relocate in the U.S.

Hers is an amazing story. She writes of life in her village as a child then fleeing when she was six. Her mother having just died in childbirth and her father fighting, she fled with relatives. They walked through burned out villages, finally making it to Kenya. She was separated from her relatives along the way, found her uncle, then entered a refugee camp. After eight years in the camp and a teenager, she was able to apply for a program to enter the U.S.

Deng's story is a story of faith. She had lost her immediate family, her village, her childhood. She had seen tragedy and death. She suffered from dehydration and malnutrition. She was frequently mistreated. Yet she can say what others meant for evil, God meant for Good. (Loc 3207/3276)

Deng's memoir is written well. It gives evidence to God's redeeming a life filled with so much loss and bringing it to a place of love and fulfillment.

I received a complimentary egally of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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God, I’m just wrecked. I don’t usually read non-fiction - especially memoirs - because I empathize way too much or something and yeah, this book massacred my heart. She has such stronger faith than I ever will and she’s been through insane stuff. I had to put this down a few times to go cry. Such a powerful and relevant story!
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Rebecca Deng is not only a survivor, but a thriver. Known as one of the Lost Girls, the Sudanese refugees who came to the United States to be adopted and given a fresh chance at life, she tells of her life before, during, and after the ravages of war. Her account is gripping and inspiring. Anyone who finds reasons to complain about the struggles of daily life should take the time to read what this young lady endured. Although this book was listed among children's books, I would not recommend it for anyone below high school age due to adult situations. This book was provided for review through NetGalley.
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This book is intense. To be honest I had not heard of the Lost Girls,  only Lost Boys. I dont even remember their truggle as I was too young at the time. But Rebecca Deng has brought a new perspective to the horrors that the young men and women suffered. Her words have made me laugh, cry and pray. It made me pray that we never have to face what she went through. It made me pray that those who've survived never have to face further horrors. And it made me pray that the survivors are all doing well now. 

Writing 5/5
Story 5/5
Grammar 5/5

Overall score 5/5

Thank you Rebecca for your courage in writing your survival story. Thank you NetGalley f ou r the chance to review this book. And thank you for making sure it is well recieved.
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What a phenomenal awe-inspiring book to read.   Rebecca Dang did an incredible job writing her story of perseverance, determination, and God's restoration and redemption.   God's grace and mercy totally surrounds her story of survival and courage of a Sudanese Refugee that is tender-hearted and courageous.    Her story of a lost girl that has now been found totally reminds me of the the song Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, I once was lost but now I'm found.  Everyone should read her story.  I was provided this excellent story by NetGalley for an honest review.
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I will never understand the wars that happen in countries between different tribes. I will never understand why we can not all just get along and celebrate each other's differences. I know it is mostly fear but it is still heartbreaking. Rebecca Deng should not have ever had to experience any of the things she did but I am thankful that she shared her journey, both through the war, through her thoughts as she joined a family in the United States, and through her faith. This book isn't for the faint of heart, and I don't think we can ever understand what Rebecca Deng went through, but reading her story is one way to help learn about different cultures. It is a way for us to celebrate our differences. It is a way for us to see one person turn her suffering into her life's work to help others. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who likes reading memoirs about real people.
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What They Meant for Evil
How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace, and Purpose in the Midst of Suffering

by Rebecca Deng



Pub Date 08 Sep 2020

I am reviewing a copy of What They Meant For Evil to FaithWords and Netgalley:

We have heard a lot about the lost boys of the Sudan, but what about the 89 girls who also escaped.

What They Meant For Evil is the story of one of the first unaccompanied refugee children of the Sudan to come to America. Rebecca came in 2000. She lost most of her family to South Sudan’s second civil

Rebecca watched murder, destruction, in horror. She endured great hunger and thirst and abuse. But Rebecca would build a life for herself in America a life far away from the war in the Sudan, her experiences though drove her to reach out to other refugees!

I found that What They Meant For Evil was a powerful story of overcoming a childhood that was sadly colored by war, but she did not let the sorrow of her experience stop her from pursuing her dreams. I find this story is worthy of five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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This is probably the best book I have read in a very very long time! It is a real story of a Sudanese refugee. Her story of survival started when she was a little girl, and since then she had to become a witness to an incredible amount of hardship and horror, including death, starvation, dangerous dehydration, abuse, and violence. The only thing Rebecca Deng did not experience for herself was death, but even death could have been easier than anything she is describing. 

My favorite parts of the book were about her childhood in the village, description of the fields, food, homes, and community. I am amazed by her uncle Machok, his almost super human actions, and the sacrifices he made for other people. I really enjoyed reading about the author's first impressions of the USA, lifestyle and white people. It was fun. But most of all, Rebecca Deng is a wonderful example to so many people in the USA today, whose feelings are hurt. Here we have someone who was actually emotionally and physically hurt, orphaned, who beat the odds, and came out on top! Her faith, tenacity and positive outlook is greatly admired! It is a must read.
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Painfully beautiful.....  These are the words I would use to describe Rebecca Deng’s book.  Parts of her story left me breathless and heartbroken, but the redemption, the way she has been able to take all of the violence she has endured and not be broken, to still give all of the glory to Him, is awe inspiring.
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That we live in a world of lost boys or lost girls is sad to me.  This story needs to be heard to open our eyes to situations like this.  It is such a heartbreaking yet inspiring story.  I am thankful to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy.  
Must read!!
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Absolutely incredible, riveting, heart-wrenching, hope-filled book.  What a life and what a story Rebecca has so bravely shared with the world!  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to review this amazing book!
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This was well written and a good read. I'd heard about the Lost Boys of Sudan, but not the Lost Girls. Her story was heartbreaking and also encouraging. I highly recommend this book.
I received this book free from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
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This is a powerful book that puts a human face on faceless atrocities, and that aspect on its own would be enough for me to recommend it, but combining that with an intimate portrait of the author's faith and perseverance in the midst of unbelievable adversity makes it a must-read, by my lights. The author provides a vivid portrait of the hell she was forced to endure, but offers anecdotes of innocence and lightness that provide relief in between the horrific details--the reader is given a break, as it were, which makes for an easier read overall. While the book is certainly not for the faint of heart, there is respite to be found in the midst of such awful events, and the authors and editors should be commended for that effort.
Stylistically and tonally, it seemed to me that the vocabulary and modes of expression changed as the author's story progressed; simple terms and "dialects" were used when describing her childhood, and as she went to school in America and became fluent in English, the tone and style of the book developed concomitantly. I can see the appeal in using that as a metric to track the author's own growth and evolution, but to me it was distracting at times. It also seemed that there was a looser sense of time in the last quarter of the book, where events spread out over the course of a few years are put together in just a few pages, and it took a bit of re-reading for me to figure out how the events were spaced together. None of these issues are major detractions from the quality of the book, but would definitely benefit from some further polish prior to publishing.
The authors did an excellent job in grounding the overall story in Rebecca's faith, taking time to answer the question "how could a loving God let this happen?" in many places. The book certainly lives up to its title.
I cannot recommend "What They Meant For Evil" highly enough and can easily see it being used in a church group study or informal Bible study. I will definitely read this book again.
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This was a hard book to read, and even harder to take in the breadth of what Deng suffered as one of the Lost Girls of South Sudan.  Overlaying the horror of war and evil toll it takes on children in its path, Deng paints a beautiful picture of strength in the Lord and resilience rooted in His grace.  Even after being granted refugee status and finding a foster home with loving Christian parents, Deng's trials continued as she experiences ongoing culture shock combined with the stress of trying to live up to her remaining Dinka family's expectations .  I felt such admiration at how she took advantage of every opportunity that came her way, and felt shamed by my indifference to the many blessings I receive and the poor use I often make of them.  Yet, this is not a book that leaves the reader weeping -- to the contrary, it is uplifting and encouraging.  On the morning I finished the book, I received email from a charitable group still working in South Sudan and for the first time, I understood a glimmer of what they face and how I can help.  Five stars from this reviewer.
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This was a gripping biography! The reader will experience heartbreak, outrage, anger, confusion, hope, joy, inspiration, and more! I felt like she gave enough details to never leave the reader hanging and wondering "whatever happened to..." She was authentic and by the time you're done reading, you're left wondering what the current state of affairs is around the world for refugees. I would recommend reading this book!
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