Read this book: The Bite of the Mango

The Bite of the Mango

I first read about Mariatu Kamara in Chatelaine of all places. Mariatu, like Ishmael Beah is a young author who recounts her experiences as a child during the civil war in Sierra Leone.

I bring up Ishmael Beah because he wrote the forward to Mariatu’s book and also because one of the questions P. asked him when he was on his book tour a few years ago was why there weren’t any accounts of the experiences of the female/girl child during the war in his book. He said he had purposefully left those out because he didn’t think it was his story to tell. He later on mentioned half jokingly that maybe we could tell that story one day; I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my memories of Sierra Leone were not of the horrors and atrocities of war. But this is Mariatu’s story to tell and she tells it in her book (with Susan McClelland), The Bite of the Mango.

I’ve been meaning to write about this book for months, everyone in my family read this book months ago – but I just couldn’t seem to make time to read it.

My mom burst out laughing one afternoon while reading it – this was a little disturbing to me, “Why are you doing this? War is not funny” I said in mock horror.

Read Bite of the Mango

Yes, this is a sad book, but it’ll also make you laugh, it’ll make you angry, it’ll break your heart and make you cry but above all, it’ll make you hopeful.

It’s Mariatu’s story told effortlessly about her circumstance and life growing up when the war reached her village.

There’s the barbaric and irrational act of violence that has left her without hands, a permanent physical reminder of the horrors she’s endured.

There’s her having a baby when she was but a baby herself.

It’s a tale of what is undoubtedly the ugliness of war and the hard journey to reclaim oneself.

It’s a little about forgiveness and going back home.


It’s quite an easy read for book with such a hard theme.

It’s a little about happy endings too.

Now twenty-three years old, Mariatu lives in Toronto and is a UNICEF Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, she also runs the Mariatu Foundation.

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  • Reply Howlatusowe96

    This is so Sad.. I ma from Sierra leone too. but i was not there when this all happy, but i had many family that was livin there i lost some of them and many of them heads wer cut of as well. I will never forget and forgive them people that did that.. I am so sorry MAriatu. I can feel your pain. But remember GOd is with you. I really love your book and i am still readin it. Is the best.

    21 January, 2011 at 12:50 am
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