The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us.Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were "thunder." In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searchin...

Details The Girl Who Smiled Beads

TitleThe Girl Who Smiled Beads
Release DateApr 24th, 2018
PublisherDoubleday Canada
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Cultural, Africa, War

Reviews The Girl Who Smiled Beads

  • Erin
    Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review. If I had a hard copy of this book, I would send it to each and everyone of you. Books like this resonate once again how powerful the written word can be and how a raw and deeply moving narrative can reach not only our hearts, but leave imprints on our soul. I did not understand the point of the word genocide then. I resent it and revile it now. The word is tidy and effic...
  • Resh (The Book Satchel)
    I'd recommend this book in a heart beat.
  • Laurie
    The title of the book is based on a story that Clementine's nanny, Mukamana, would tell her. It was about a beautiful, magical girl who roamed the earth, smiling beads, and it was her favorite story. How ironic that Clementine ended up roaming the world.The references to different books throughout the memoir is interesting. Clementine read many she could relate to: Night by Ellie Weisel, Sula by Toni Morrison, Infidel by Ayana Hirsi Ali, The Natu...
  • Cheryl
    Thank you Goodreads and Crown (Penguin-Random House) for choosing me as a winner of this ARC!12 years after being separated from their parents during the war in Rwanda, Clementine and her older sister, Claire are invited to appear on the Oprah show. Clementine had written an essay in response to Elie Wiesel’s book “Night” on surviving the Holocaust, and was to receive recognition for such. They had no idea they were to be reunited with thei...
  • Mainlinebooker
    Powerful, powerful novel painted with shades of raw urgency that propelled me to read this in two days. Clementine and her older sister Clara,born into a middle class family in Rwanda, were sucked from their family's bosom due to the vile nature of war and internecine conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The next several years they spent on the run from country to country and from one refugee camp to another finally ending up in the United ...
  • Julia Keizer
    Magnificent, emotional and raw, beautifully written.      This novel takes you on a journey of survival and doesn't ever let up. Clemantine is constantly living in a struggle for survival, even after moving to the United States. She continues to try and find her own identity. The start of the book shows the life she had, as a happy young child with her whole life ahead of her and that life suddenly taken from her in a blink of an eye. Everyt...
  • Jenee Rager
    How would you explain genocide to a six year old, especially if they are there to witness it first hand? I don't have an answer, and no one in Clemantine's life did either. For the first six years of her life she lived in relative affluence, security and comfort, then everything changed. She and her sister, Claire, were separated from their family and forced to flee Rwanda as the civil war started. Claire and Clemantine spent the next six years f...
  • Melanie
    Finished this book (courtesy of the Penguin First To Read Program) a couple days ago and have been having the hardest time trying to write a review. I have so many thoughts; however, I know nothing I write will adequately convey the beauty and importance of this book. Clemantine Wamariya was only six years old when she and her older sister fled their grandmother’s home during the 1994 Rwandan massacre. Clemantine is very honest in her memoir - ...
  • Sue Dix
    This is an ARC. This is one of the most difficult books I have read, yet it is an essential read. It is at once a memoir and an expose. How can I ever relate to Clemantine’s life? I will never know her tragedy. The terrible genocide that was visited upon the Tutsi by the Hutu majority government becomes more than real in Clemantine’s telling. I will never think of a refugee camp again with anything but horror.
  • Katie
    This true story is a remarkable memoir of perseverance and inner strength. Clemantine uses her experiences to remind us all that our common humanity binds us all together, no matter what our external circumstances. She is wise beyond her years. As a reader, I am so grateful that she shared her story and uses this platform as a call to action.
  • Vickie
    I feel really lucky that I received this book through Goodreads, because this is so well written. I couldn't stop reading this memoir by a young woman and the life somehow she lived through. She makes you think about the after effects of war andhow it affects her life and relationship with her family.Please read this wonderful book!
  • Patricia
    This book should be required reading, especially for those who consider refugees to be a drain on society. Clemantine and her sister Claire were living a comfortable life with their mother, a devout Catholic, and father, a successful businessman, when war turned them overnight into refugees. Fleeing the Rwanda genocide, they wandered through eight African countries, in and out of dismal and inhuman refugee camps, across dangerous lakes and rivers...
  • Jill Dobbe
    This is the story of two sisters who escaped the Rwandan genocide and eventually reunited with their family on the Oprah show. The author, Clemantine Wamariya, reveals how she and her sister traveled across Africa to live in a variety of refugee camps staying alive any way they could.Clementine tells her story from a very young age when her family breaks up and she and her sister, Claire, are left on their own. They both end up in the U.S. and ar...
  • Casey
    I gave this book 5/5. This book touched my soul. I don't know what else to say. Words cannot express the lessons that this book has taught me. Wonderful Job!!! To read my full review follow the link below:
  • Leah
    loved this book. this was a goodreads give away for me.
  • Erin
    I've asked this before, but how do you put stars on another person's suffering? So my five star rating is indicative of the necessity of this story and the quality of the writing. To say I enjoyed this would be... not true. It's a story that punches you in the heart, but then sticks to your ribs. It makes you a little sick, a little impressed, and I'd be surprised if you don't question your own narrative and self while reading it. It was difficul...
  • Caryl Williams
    Clemantine Wamariya was a young child of six when she was separated from her parents at the outbreak of a bloody civil war in Rwanda.Along with her sister Claire, who was twelve at the time, the two girls had to leave their comfortable home and life in Kigali and had no option but to travel miles alone, often on foot across Rwanda to refugee camps and holding centres. They barely managed to exist in often appalling conditions.From there they over...
  • sylvie
    Oh, I have such a difficult time reviewing Clemantine Wamariya's memoir, should one be much older than 28 to write a memoir? Clemantine at 28 lived a life time, yet as she tells her readers "what is next".The title THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS has it's origins from a fairytale without ending, urging a child to ask what is next...Next arrived when Clemantine age 4 and her sister Claire age 15 escaped into a sweet potato field, away from family and fr...
  • Patti Parker Markgraf
    4.5...Wow!! What a magnificently, powerful and emotionally raw memoir. This greatly impacted my entire being--down to the most basic fiber. Additionally, I was surprised at how effectively it humbled me--making me aware of my ignorance and my sheltered experiences. I now realize that US refugee status does not necessarily aid in the healing of life's horror-filled transgressions--that perhaps, there is no correct formula for healing. I was sent t...
  • Jessica
    An honest and courageous memoir, that is truly personal and insightful. Wamariya recognises any privilege she may have gained, and the opportunities she has been given, but rightly allows herself to acknowledge and feel the damage of her early experiences.
  • Janette Mcmahon
    Extremely short but powerful look at what comes after running for your life in a conflict filled area.
  • Michelle Olms
    Great book
  • Cyd
    Maybe 3.5.
  • Wanda
    A survivor’s raw and unfiltered account of the Rwandan genocide. In it, Wamariya tells how she, her sister and her sister’s children fled from one refugee camp to another after being displaced from their home in Rwanda. Their journey lasted six years and crossed seven African countries before they eventually found their way to the U.S. And as much as this is the author’s story, she doesn’t tell it as if it’s just about her. She tells he...
  • monsterlyleigh
    This is one of the best books I've ever read. Blatantly honest about humanity and it's brutalities and generosities. This woman has found a way to tell her story in a way that is relatable, even if your life experiences are quite different from hers. Making a story about survivng the Rwandan conflict this easy to read and relatable is an amazing feat and I commend the authors on creating something that everyone not only needs to read, but will be...
  • J.D. Dehart
    First with this book is the clarity of writing. The book is written in clear way that gets this powerful story across well for a wide range of readers.What’s more is the story itself. This is the most powerful story of culture that I have read since What is the What by Eggers. What makes this book especially powerful is that it is told firsthand.I can honestly say that I am glad I read this book.
  • John Vanderslice
    This is an important book. I'll admit that heretofore I knew little about what is commonly known as the "Rwandan genocide" (Wamariya finds fault with that label). But, boy, does this book bring it home to the reader, and in the most effective means possible: through personal story. The fear and hardship and deprivation and sickness and sheer exhaustion, which encapsulated whole populations, comes through loud and clear in Wamariya's own story. An...
  • Betty
    As I read this powerful story I couldn’t help comparing it to the Holocaust. Imagine how it would be to grow up in a middle class family among others just like yourself. Then suddenly life changes. She was only four years old when her world started shrinking. She could no longer go to kindergarten. She was forbidden to play with her oldest friend. No one goes to the market anymore. There is no running water in the house; electricity is on and o...
  • lisa
    I would have a hard time explaining this book and exactly why I liked it so much. It carries within its pages a lot of complicated feelings. It is a memoir of a little girl whose life was torn apart by war, but this is only the surface of this book, and what Clementine Wamariya lived through (and continues to live through). I hesitate to even refer to this as a story, or a book since it's about experiences that actually happened to a young girl. ...