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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Heart of Fire: One Girl's Extraordinary Journey from Child Soldier to Soul Singer - Senait G. Mehari Eritrea.It's hard to know how much of this memoir is true and how much fictional. Often when an autobiographical work is denounced as fraudulent, at least one of the detractors provides an annotated list of errors, distortions, or misrepresentations. I've read everything on the first large number of Google hits about Heart of Fire without being able to find a clearly articulated account of what the purported fraudulent material is. There are some concerns about whether she was a "child soldier" by some definitions; she is accused of defaming or misrepresenting two people (there has been a hearing about this, but as best I can tell, she has contested it); she is accused of claiming that a school was a paramilitary training camp. These possible sources of concern are buried and confused with long diatribes that make vitriolic and rambling accusations about her mental derangement, drug use, and lying, but the most consistent concern seems to be that she has made Eritrea or ELF (the Eritrean Liberation Front) look bad by asserting that the party used children in warfare. A cursory look around the web finds reasonably good documentation that child soldiers have been used in the Eritrean conflict, which will not come as a surprise to readers aware of child soldiers in other conflicts in the region and elsewhere. Whether Mehari is accurate or not isn't something I can assess, but I can say that her detractors don't present their arguments in a way that is easy to make sense of.As to the book itself, it is interesting to read an account of child soldiers by a female, since most of the recent memoirs have been by men. Stylistically it's repetitive and awkward, so read this as a memoir (or fictionalized memoir)