I literally feel like I was tricked into reading ANOTHER book of short stories! I started reading Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, and until I was a few pages into the second story, I didn’t realize they all were short stories!
But I have to say, WOW. While I’ve read other short story books I have enjoyed, usually there are many, or at least a few, where I completely don’t get the ending.
But the stories in Say You’re One of Them are moving and easy to understand (even the endings). All of the stories take place in Africa and focus on different children with various issues in the country, mainly amongst those in extreme poverty.
For instance, one story is told from the perspective of the brother of a 12-year-old prostitute who is supporting her family. Another story is told from the perspective of a 10-year-old older brother who is being sold, along with his sister, to child traffickers.
You can actually read the entire first story, Ex-mas Feast, here! Or listen to some of the story in audio at the link as well!
This book would be a fabulous introduction for those of you who don’t normally enjoy short stories. I know I said that about Dancing Girls by Atwood, but now that I’ve read Say You’re One of Them, I know I was wrong before.
Also, this is one of Oprah’s Book Club books and at this moment it’s only $6 on Amazon for the paperback! (Double check the price, as it might have changed)
Have you ever been surprised at the structure of a book you were reading?