The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of the imagination to 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." It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Clair...

Details The Girl Who Smiled Beads

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

Reviews The Girl Who Smiled Beads

  • Angela M
    4.5 stars . I read very few memoirs, but felt I should read this one after recently reading a novel about the Rwanda genocide which made me realize of how little I knew of it. In this book, we are exposed to it head on, with excruciating honesty . So many people killed but what about those who escaped? This book focuses on the story of one family, about how two young girls ran from the murderers and endured horrible conditions in refugee camps. C...
  • Lola
    ''Here's my story,'' I said. ''Use it now or later. When you need it, it'll be there for you. Maybe someday you'll be facing a challenge, and you'll think of my story. You'll think of Claire. You'll remember to put your ego in a bag and throw that bag away. You'll remember to be kind and generous and a better human.'' It’s hard to review this book, because this is not a book that was written to be reviewed.This written work, in itself, is a rev...
  • Debbie
    Socks officially knocked off!Best book I’ve read this year, hands down, and it goes on my all-time favorites list. Intense, upsetting, sobering, this story got under my skin in a big way. I can’t stop thinking about, I can’t stop talking about it.One day Clementine is playing happily with her siblings in the yard of her comfy and loving home in Rwanda, the next day she and her 15-year-old sister Claire are running for their lives. Chapter 1...
  • JanB
    5++ starsI had plans for today but first I decided to sit and read for an hour. Many hours later, I closed the last page of this book. I simply could not put it down until I had read every word of this powerful memoir.Clemantine was born into a comfortable middle-class family in Rwanda. At age 6 she and her older sister were forced to flee the ethnic killings. She spent the next 6 years moving from country to country, from refugee camp to refugee...
  • Diane S ☔
    4.5 The genocide in Rawanda, another subject that I knew little about. I knew it happened, knew it was a terrible atrocity, saw bits and pieces on the news, but that's about the extent of my knowledge. Now after reading this memoir about a young girl who experienced this herself, I know more. Clemantine was only six when she and her older sister, Claire were told to run. They did and for a long six years they went from place to place, camp to cam...
  • Jen
    So hard to write a review on a memoir especially of one where a girl has survived a brutalGenocide in Rwanda.Even when she arrives in the U.S as a refugee, the years of trauma unravel even once she has landed in a war free zone. The fears still remain- the difficulty trusting, the inability to forget, the fear of being abandoned. For years Clementine and her sister travelled to 7 countries to escape the death. Now this is her story of the afterma...
  • Elyse Walters
    “The word genocide cannot articulate the one-person experience—the real experience of each of the millions it purports to describe. The experience with a child playing dead in a pool of his father’s blood. The experience of a mother foreverwailing on her knees”. “The word genocide cannot explain the never-ending pain, even if you live”. Clementine Wamariya shared personal stories of when she lived in Rwanda during the civil war from w...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    5 brave, bold stars to The Girl Who Smiled Beads! The Girl Who Smiled Beads has been the memoir I’ve most anticipated reading this year, and when I finally got to it, it was just after reading a fictional account of the genocide in Rwanda, In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills by Jennifer Haupt, which is definitely a favorite of mine. The Girl Who Smiled Beads was a fitting complement to In the Shadow, and I experienced on a more visceral, individ...
  • Peter
    FragmentationThis is the third book I’ve read this year based around the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Each book has been haunting, heartbreaking and tragic - this book is no different. I didn’t want to be reminded about that period again but it is compelling and inspirational to see how humanity can survive those atrocities. The scars are permanent and it is with great sadness that we listen to a real story and the impact hatred and destitution ...
  • Susanne Strong
    5 Astounding Stars.The Girl Who Smiled Beads is the story of tragedy, war, violence and ultimately of survival. Six year old Clemantine Wamariya was torn from her home along with her older sister Claire, when the War broke out in Rwanda. Fleeing everything they had ever known, they were left to their own devices, running from the massacre. Both sisters spent six years on the run, through six different countries in Africa searching for safety, nev...
  • Esil
    The Girl Who Smiled Beads tells the extraordinary story of Clementine Wamariya. At age 7, she and her older sister were seperated from their parents in Rwanda. They made their own way through a series of refugee camps and ultimately moved to the US as refugees. At the time, Clementine was 12 years old. Wamariya, now a young woman, tells her own story, moving back and forth between her childhood and her early years in the US. Throughout, she refle...
  • Dem
    An interesting story that gives the readers a young girls views and thoughts on her experiences of War and Genocide and what it means to try to rebuild a life again and the feeling of never belonging.Firstly I listened to this one on audio and while the narrator was adequate the book was difficult to follow and this was due to the structure of the novel, The story is told in two time frames and while I normally enjoy this style of writing, there ...
  • Cheri
    ”Often, still, my own life story feels fragmented, like beads unstrung. Each time I scoop up my memories, the assortment is slightly different. I worry, at times, that I’ll always be lost inside.” Even at the tender age of four, Clementine was precocious, demanding the truth of things that the adults in her life felt were beyond her years. ”Daily, maybe hourly, I begged Mukamana to tell me stories to help me make sense of the world, like...
  • 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...
  • Nadia
    The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a shocking, heartbreaking true story of a six year old girl who survived the Rwandan genocide. Almost 1 million people were slaughtered in the genocide that little Clemantine managed to escape, fleeing the country together with her older sister but with no parents. Thus began their refugee journey, an unforgiving and brutal fight for survival which lasted six long years until the older sister was no longer a child and...
  • Marialyce
    You can find my reviews at: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...This was truly a harrowing tale of survival against the most oppressive of odds. Inhumanity is not confined to a country, a person, an idea. It is endemic to what is human, that need to dominate, to feel in control, in power. The powerful prey on the week and the cycle continues as each level preys on the level considered to be weaker than they.The book is a portrayal of life on ...
  • Jennifer Blankfein
    The Nobel Peace Prize winning author and Holocaust survivor, Elie Weisel, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006 where Oprah played clips from an interview they had done on site at Auschwitz. In addition, on the same episode, Oprah was recognizing fifty winners of a high school essay contest who had written about Elie Weisel’s Night and its’ current day relevance. Clemantine Wamariya was one of the winners and was called up on stage to ta...
  • Katie B
    Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her life changed forever. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, were forced to leave their family behind and flee their home country as the Rwanda massacre raged on. They spent the next six years as refugees in multiple African countries until they were able to come to America. Clemantine was given a home with an affluent white family and she attended a private school, got involved in ext...
  • Jenna
    (A Rwandan refugee camp in east Zaire.) "The place that is supposed to want you has pushed you out. No other place takes you in. You are unwanted, by everyone. You are a refugee." Try as I might, I cannot imagine what it feels like to be a refugee. To have to flee your homeland, the place you grew up, the only place you've ever known. To be without a home or country for years. To live in a refugee camp. To not know if your family is alive or dead...
  • Brenda -Traveling Sister
    I don’t normally read autobiographies and seems to shy away from them but with all the high rating and reviews from my Traveling Sisters and Friends I finally along with Susanne dived into this one. I am really glad I did.I went into this one not knowing much about the Rwandan genocide and Clemantine Wamariya really opened my eyes up to the reality of these horrific events and what it was like escaping those events. The story goes back and fort...
  • Lisa Vegan
    I was enthusiastic about reading this book, even though I expected it to be a painful read. I was right. I’m so glad that my book club chose this for our October 2019 book because chances are good it would have languished on my shelf otherwise, and I’m so glad that I read it. It’s very tough but very good. I always admire people who can take their pain and do something positive with it. So I greatly admire the author. I had downloaded an au...
  • Chrissie
    This is a book about Clemantine Wamariya ’s experiences during the Rwandan and Burundi Genocides. Starting in April 1994 and for 100 days, ethnic Hutu extremists slaughtered 800,000 of the minority Tutsi community and other political opponents regardless of their ethnicity. The fight between the two was not new and it has continued for years. The Belgians colonized Rwanda after their invasion of German East Africa in 1916 during World War One. ...
  • Sonja Arlow
    I have read about the Rwanda genocide before and because of that I was hesitant to pick up this memoir. In fact, one of the books I could not even finish it was so brutal. This is not just a book about the Rwanda genocide, nor about a refugee coming to America, or rising from adversity. Its about losing your family, your culture, your country and your identity at the age of 6 and how this had a ripple effect in Clemantine’s life for many years ...
  • Dianne
    I have a tough time reviewing memoirs. It makes me feel like I am judging the memoirist's life story, which is creepy and weird. So let me just say, this is an incredible journey. It's hard to believe Wamariya and her family survived the Rawandan genocide and the aftermath, bouncing through countless dangerous refugee camps before fleeing to the United States. Wamariya comes through her ordeal and ends up a Yale graduate with a successful speakin...
  • Resh (The Book Satchel)
    I'd recommend this book in a heart beat.
  • Katie.dorny
    I am trying to read more non fiction now I’m older to actually educate myself about the world and other people - and my god this one took me on a journey.Clemantine details her journey through the Rwandan genocide, her childhood in refugee camps and her life in America; alongside her internal struggle to find herself and piece her history back together with her new life.It was heartbreaking reading this, but I felt like I had been told truths t...
  • Ali Edwards
    Back in 2014 I heard Clemantine speak in Washington DC at a summit on girls + women in Africa which was sponsored by the ONE Campaign and Google. The event itself and the stories presented were profoundly moving and educational. When I was offered an opportunity to receive an advance copy of this book I jumped at the chance to get to go deeper into Clemantine's story and I think this book is a must read. It's a hard, raw read and one that is supe...
  • Sara
    Clemantine Wamariya was six when she fled Rwanda with her fifteen year old sister, Claire. Their journey, which took them across much of Africa, was fraught with deprivations, hunger, hardship and dangers. That they survived to tell is a bit of a miracle in itself. But Clemantine shares more than the experiences in the war and refugee camps, she shares the difficulties that followed her long after she was safely ensconced in an American household...
  • Julie Christine
    Having so recently read Jennifer Haupt's novel In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, I went in search of real-life survivor accounts of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and immediately landed on Clemantine Wamariya's extraordinary story. This is not a recounting of the killing fields — the 100 days of horror when neighbor turned against neighbor in wholesale slaughter. Wamariya's experiences are of a child who escaped just as civil war began. But surviving t...
  • Tania
    I lost track of who I was. I’d become a negative, a receptacle of need. I was hungry, I was thirsty, I needed a bathroom, I needed a place to sleep. How would you cope if you were a happy six-year-old, but then one day your entire world is turned upside down when everyone in your country starts killing each other? Without much warning you are left without a home, family and no country. For the next six years you are an exile, a sub-human, just ...