The Bone Sparrow Review

The Bone Sparrow ReviewThe Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 240
Buy on Amazon

Sometimes, at night, the dirt outside turns into a beautiful ocean. As red as the sun and as deep as the sky. I lie in my bed, Queeny's feet pushing up against my cheek, and listen to the waves lapping at the tent.

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention centre after his mother fled the violence of a distant homeland, life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, until it is bursting at the limits of his world. The night sea brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories.

The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl who appears from the other side of the wires, and brings a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it, she relies on Subhi to unravel her own family's love songs and tragedies.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, as their tales unfold. But not until each of them has been braver than ever before.

This review is spoiler free

I was walking through Waterstones and came across a book called The Bone Sparrow. I had never heard about it before, but when I read the synopsis on the back of the book, I was sold. This book is about a young boy named Subhi who is born in an Australia detention centre for refugees. His family is from Burma and they got separated from their father when they left. At the camp, Subhi meets a girl from the outside who somehow got into the camp and a friendship blooms between them.

The Story

Even though I rated this book 3,5 stars, I still think that everybody should read this. I had no idea that there were people fleeing from Burma (Myanmar) to Australia and the bad conditions they were living in. This book gives a really good view of what it’s like to live in a place like that and how the ”jackets” as they are called by Subhi (the camp guards) treat the people. I do think that not much happened in this book, which is the main reason why I didn’t like this that much. I know that not much happens in a refugee detention centre, we had one for Syrian refugees really close to my house for a while, but I need some action in a book to keep interest. I also know that this book is supposed to be about the story and what happens between the characters, but I couldn’t get over it.

The Characters

I did really like the friendships between the people in the camp and between Subhi and Jimmie, though I do feel that came very sudden. I was also surprised by how Subhi didn’t really ask anything about what life outside the centre was like, if I were him I’d be asking hundreds of questions. Subhi is a really nice kid that gets along with basically everybody and always tries to help other people, I really admired him for that. The only person that really annoyed me in this story was Subhi’s mother. For the entirety of the book she just lays in a bed sleeping or staring into nothing. She’s not at all busy with her children or making the situation any better. I think that as a mother you should always try to stay strong for your children and that’s exactly what she isn’t doing.

The Writing Style

The Bone Sparrow is from the point of view of two children and that’s exactly how it’s written. The sentences felt really childish to me and there were a lot of and and and situations to me. It also felt really black and white. To Subhi and Jimmie people were either good or bad and there was no in between. I think that this book could have been a lot better if it wasn’t written the way a child thinks.

Even though I had problems with this book, I do think that this story is very important and eye-opening. I haven’t read any books that take place during this time and inside a refugee centre, and with all the refugees coming into Europe right now, this is a good book to get to know how they live and how they (might) feel. So do I recommend this book, I definitely do, but don’t go into it expecting an exciting or incredibly sad story, because that is not what this book is.

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Anna is 18, lives in Amsterdam and studies journalism. In her spare time she likes to read, write, draw, play the piano and violin. She also enjoys cosplaying as her favorite anime characters!
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One comment for “The Bone Sparrow Review

  1. This is a very interesting topic. Is it like a YA book though?
    BTW, that “Currently reading” photo is lovely :)

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