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Book Title: A Girl Named Disaster|
Date of issue: March 1st 1998
ISBN 13: 9780140386356
The author of the book: Nancy Farmer
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 739 KB
Read full description of the books A Girl Named Disaster:"I am she who lifts mountains
When she goes to hunt
Who wears a mamba for a headband
And a lion for a belt
I swallow elephants whole
And pick my teeth with rhinoceros horns
Let them hear my words!
Nhamo is coming
And her hunger is great."
—Nhamo, "A Girl Named Disaster", P. 101
"(P)eople are like plants. Some shoot up like weeds, and some are slow like fruit trees. In the end, the fruit trees are worth more."
—Ambuya, "A Girl Named Disaster, P. 21
I would give three and a half stars to "A Girl Named Disaster".
There are few authors out there who are capable of writing an engrossing, gripping young adult novel with the emotion and intensity that always marks the stories of Nancy Farmer.
"A Girl named Disaster" finds its perfect balance as a coming-of-age story, a loving testament to the power and richness of the Shona people and their beliefs, and as a nail-biting suspense tale about a girl out on her own at the age of eleven, with seemingly no one who cares about her in existence anymore and nothing but a wan hope for a faraway possible future as her guide.
"Rather, there was a space between one person and the next. It was as though a necklace had come apart and each bead rolled separately across the floor. The village had broken somewhere deep inside..."
—A Girl Named Disaster, P. 41
"Spirits were thin fare, compared to people. They didn't breathe comfortingly in the middle of the night, and they couldn't hold her in their arms".
—A Girl Named Disaster, P. 139
The reader who picks up this book will find himself taken very quickly into the world of tribal Africa and all of its many, varied customs. Some of these customs will fascinate the reader, others of them will seem offensive or even heartless and cruel to the American mind, but all of them are sure to be eye opening, and they serve perfectly to advance the story and allow us to see the entire person that makes up our protagonist, Nhamo. It is perhaps in this area that Nancy Farmer succeeds most magnificently, creating a character that we are given access to know as well (or better) than we could know any real human being who stood before us, and with whom we could converse. Nhamo, herself, is the mark of a master story teller, a writer who is able to make events that are as far away from the lives of most of her readers as could possibly be keep a sense of raw immediacy about them.
Ultimately, the reason that I see for the marvelous artistic success of "A Girl Named Disaster" is the resounding knowledge of humanness that Nancy Farmer has, and the way that she is able to relay it through her characters so gracefully, and in ways that take us by surprise and remind us once again of just what it means to be human. The thoughts and feelings of Nhamo will echo deeply in the soul of any person, connecting with one's own personal emptiness and loneliness and need for love to make the story of Nhamo truly as powerful as it is. In the end, this is what I see as the "secret" of Nancy Farmer's success, and I feel honored to be allowed to make the journey alongside Nhamo.
"(E)ven the best bowl of porridge has a few weevils in it."
—A Girl Named Disaster, P. 288
"The paths of the body are long, but the paths of the spirit are short."
—A Girl Named Disaster, P. 293
Read information about the authorNancy was born in 1941 in Phoenix and grew up in a hotel on the Arizona-Mexico border where she worked the switchboard at the age of nine. She also found time to hang out in the old state prison and the hobo jungle along the banks of the Colorado River. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, earning her BA in 1963. Instead of taking a regular job, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to India (1963-1965). When she returned, she moved into a commune in Berkeley, sold newspapers on the street for a while, then got a job in the Entomology department at UC Berkeley and also took courses in Chemistry there. Restless, again, she decided to visit Africa. She and a friend tried to hitchhike by boat but the ship they'd selected turned out to be stolen and was boarded by the Coast Guard just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. Nancy eventually got to Africa on a legal ship. She spent more than a year on Lake Cabora Bassa in Mozambique, monitoring water weeds. Next she was hired to help control tsetse fly in the dense bush on the banks of the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. Part of the time she spent in the capital, Harare, and was introduced to her soon-to-be husband by his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. He proposed a week later. Harold and Nancy now live in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona on a major drug route for the Sinaloa Cartel. This is the setting for The Lord of Opium. They have a son, Daniel, who is in the U.S. navy.
Nancy's honors include the National Book Award for The House of the Scorpion and Newbery Honors for The Ear, the Eye and The Arm, A Girl Named Disaster and The House of the Scorpion. She is the author of nine novels, three picture books and a number of short stories. Her books have been translated into 26 languages.
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