Thursday, January 13, 2011

Escape From Rwanda with John Bizimana

Our January book club was a special event that included dinner and a discussion with the author of Escape From Rwanda, John Bizimana. I knew it would be an interesting discussion when he walked in, surrounded by many friends, and quietly whispered to the girl next to him..."wow, this is so weird. They are all holding my book. " Yes, John...that's how we roll!

John's story (working title A Wayfaring Man tossed out by publishers) is one of adversity, but amazing hope. John was just a boy as his mother gathered up her children and a few precious belongings and trudged out of the genocide smitten land of Rwanda. The details of the story are what followed after. Living one life while dreaming of more. Struggling to find a place to fit in, struggling to find something to believe in. In spite of the horrific event from his childhood you could say he really just struggled with the same things we all do, and that is what makes his story so universal.

This little memoir style book is very inspirational. If a man can be as gentle, kind, and humble as John is after what he has seen, then can't we all be that way? We discussed the tragedy of Rwanda, the lands where he lived, the languages he speaks. We discussed his memories and our own feelings, and the little miracle it is that someone heard his story, encouraged him to share it, it crossed the desk of a publisher (without an agent attached to promote it) who also felt it was a story that needed to be told, and now it can be found on the shelf at the book store.

While John softly concludes "I'm not a writer" we all have to disagree. There are different types of writing, and different reasons to read. If someone can write a book that inspires you to have more hope, to dream a little bigger, and to remember to thank God for the miracles we sometimes call coincidence then I say you have earned the title.

If just one reader (like me) picks up his story and walks away determined to learn more about Rwanda and the reasons why something so maddening could happen, then you've done your job. In learning how something like this can happen we also learn some other critical to keep it from happening again.

For this reason, I will be forever grateful I read this story- and met the life behind it.

you may also like to read another member's review at My Way. Click for more insight!