Friday, December 2, 2011

Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan

You need to read this collection of short stories and this is why:
It will change you. It is as simple as that. It is impossible to read this text and not be grateful for your life. Before reading Say You’re One of Them, I was thankful for the usual: good health, love, education, and food. After reading Akpan’s work, I was grateful for clean water. I was grateful for a roof over my head. I was grateful for living in a place where I do not have to fear for my safety or sell my body to feed my family. You will have a strong appreciation for every aspect of your life and every opportunity that you have ever had.
Say You’re One of Them is a collection of short stories told from the point of view of African children. Each story highlights a struggle or conflict that is too common in Africa. Although I do not fall in love with short stories in the same way that I fall in love with novels, I was overwhelmingly moved by Akpan’s work. Some of the stories are better than others, but taken as a whole, it is a haunting and moving read.
This work, I hope, will inspire you to help or learn more about the struggles of Africans. Say You’re One of Them illuminated the global water crisis for me. Did you know that approximately 1 billion people live without clean drinking water? African children must quit school so that they may walk miles to fill up empty gasoline canisters with dirty, bacteria-infested water.  Upon reading Uwem Akpan’s debut collection of stories, I became a supporter of clean water projects. I have friends who were moved to join Doctors Without Borders, The Peace Corps, and various nonprofits after reading Akpan’s work and researching the plight of Africans.
To learn more about the global clean water crisis, visit Charity:Water.


  1. I'm from Africa (South Africa, but it still counts), and I know all too well the plights and crises of those less fortunate in the poorer and less developed regions of Africa. I'm adding this one to my TBR. Thank you for the brilliant review :)