Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Name is Bosnia by Madeleine Gagnon

My Name is Bosnia by Madeleine Gagnon

When war breaks out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sabaheta is just a regular university student. But war changes everything. Her brother is taken away and her mom goes crazy, which sends her to an asylum. Sabaheta cuts her hair and takes to the forest with her father to fight. When her father is killed, she renames herself Bosnia, acknowledging that she may someday have to leave her country, and heads into the city.

The city, though, is no safer than the forest. There's constant shooting and shelling, killing citizens. Bosnia finds some friends and shacks up with them for the duration of the war. The situation turns from bad to worse when food and firewood runs out and the group resorts of tearing up books and using them for kindle. Bosnia also befriends a soldier, Adem, and eventually falls in love with him. With the latest round of killing, Bosnia and Adem decide they can no longer live in their beloved city, but must move away from the war. They move to France and, eventually, to Quebec.

The book is separated into three parts representing where the couple is: Bosnia, France, and Quebec. The first part is about the war and Bosnia finding Adem. This was by far the most interesting part of the book. I wish I had more of a background on the history to better understand what the characters were going through.

Sometime between Bosnia and France, Bosnia's mom got better and was no longer crazy. How does someone go from being crazy and not being able to talk to being sane and making sense? I didn't understand that one. This is where the book went downhill a bit. Things just seemed to drag on and there wasn't much point to it. When the characters then traveled to Quebec, the book wrapped up nicely.

First Line: "For a long time, I knew happiness"



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