Thursday 19 January 2012

19. What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur by Various Authors

What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur by Various Authors
Published December 2011 Penguin

From the publisher:

WHAT YOU WISH FOR: A BOOK FOR DARFUR has brought together a potent roster of international talent.  Each story and poem has its own affecting power and celebrates the simple wishes-home, family, safety and love, things we all wish for-of the Darfuri refugees this collection honors with incredible grace, beauty and oft-times humor. What You Wish For is a collection poised to leave an indelible mark.

I am generally speaking not a fan of short story collections, but this one has been put together for a good cause, so I gave it a go.  This collection is written by different authors, so it stands to reason that you will probably not like all stories equally.  That's the good thing about short story collections, if you're not enjoying the story you can skip it and move onto the next on (not that I did, I read them all).  I didn't hate any of the stories, but I certainly like some more than others.

The standouts for me were:
The Strange Story of Bobby Box by Alexander McCall Smith, that looks at the life of a boy who was found floating on a Scottish river in a wooden box. A story about no matter how bad things are, they canalways get better.
The Protectionist by Meg Cabot about a boy who realises it takes more than wishes to have friends, you actually have to work at it.
Wishes a poem by Jane Yolen, shows that sometimes we wish for the wrong things, and when we get them, all we end up with is regret.
The Great Wall by Sophie Quintero set in New York, it looks at how we make judgements about people based on the tiny aspect we see of them.
Reasons by John Green, a story about a boy who is infatuated with the family's sponser child, even though his mother tries to tell him that her photo is probably not even real.
The Lost Art of Letter Writing by Ann M Martin, a collection of letters sent back and forth between two girls who start out with quite different lives, but through their friendship find they have more in common than they thought.

There's a couple of slightly creepy stories, Nell by Karen Hesse, which ties in The Little Match Girl, and Stepsister by Cynthia Voigt which is a gruesome (and close to the original version) of Cinderella.

On the whole it's worth a read, I have labeled this book teenage, but it is on the young end.  Some of the stories are quite young, and other are definately teenage, so to err on the side of caution, that's where I would place it.  It's only in hardback at the moment, but a really good price (only $16.95), and the proceeds of the sales go the refugees in Dafur.  For more information, click on the link below.

Who will like this book: Girls and Boys Age 12+
Read it if you like: Short Stories or if you want to read a book that is going to do some good in the world.

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