Today I am here with a review of A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. We read this for a recent book club and it was a fascinating read that gave us a lot to talk about!
This was a quick read for me and an extremely powerful one.
Book Summary: “A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.”
The story is engaging and immediately draws you into the action. I read this quickly and had to keep turning pages to find out what happened to Salva and Nya. There were so many intense moments and powerful details like the lions. The Nile Crossing. Marial. Walking for days. Violence from animals and other people. No way of communicating with family or friends. Uncle. Refugee camps. America. Change and travel almost constantly. I couldn’t believe some of the tragedies Salva must live through, the pain he must live with. And yet, despite all these intense stories, he still makes a difference. Such powerful messages of hope and courage. I love the connection between the stories at the end.
The characters are fascinating in both timelines, and I particularly connected with Salva. I admire his courage and determination to do good in the world. He keeps walking — just to that tree. And then just to the next tree. Even when things felt impossible, he finds a bit more courage and a bit more strength. He keeps surviving just for today. And those days turn into years. I continued to admire him as he grew and overcame additional tragedies in his life. Nya surprised me because of how little she had and how long she had to walk to water in 2008!
Such an interesting historical time that is described with poignant details and grace. I have some prior knowledge about the lost boys of Sudan. But this was so much more intense and powerful than I expected. They walk for so long and without any knowledge of what happened back home. The wild animal encounters are scary and intense. I can’t imagine swimming in alligator infested waters or hoping a lion won’t drag me away while I sleep. Additionally, the hatred and violence between the different tribes and political groups was sobering. In contrast, Salva’s decision to help others in Africa is truly beautiful. Amazing how clean water changes lives! We take a lot of things for granted but many people don’t have basic necessities like easy access to clean water or medicine. I really appreciate my home and blessings after reading this story.
A beautiful, hopeful book amidst tragedy, fear and turmoil.
What books have you enjoyed that show hope in the midst of darkness?
What are some of your favorite books set in Africa?
2 thoughts on “[A Long Walk to Water]: A Review”
Great review, Jane!! Toni Shiloh’s Prince series is set in a fictional town in Africa. Other than that, I can’t think of any books I have read that are set there recently.
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Thanks, Cindy! That sounds like a fascinating setting. I haven’t read many books set in Africa (I can’t really think of any besides this one) so I appreciate you recommendation! And thanks for reading 🙂
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