25 March 2010

Review: Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

I don't think there is a way to write a book about genocide without it being sad. With that said, yes, this book is incredibly heart-breaking and terrifying.

But there is something really beautiful about it too. As you can tell from the title, the book is not simply a chronicle of Immaculee's experience as a RwandanTutsi during Rwanda's holocaust in 1994; it is about the relationship she found with God during and after that horrific time.

I think it is hard to read about somebody else's personal relationship with God. At least for me, it is difficult to read about other people's experiences without viewing through my own lens. And that lens is shaped by my personal experiences and my own relationship with God. Admittedly, there were times when Immaculee's descriptions or feelings didn't quite mesh with what I thought she should think or feel. But it's not my book, and they weren't my experiences, and when I remembered to step back and look at them that way, it completely changed my perception of the book.

I walked away from this book with an overwhelming sense of how much God loves all of his children and how much he wants us to be happy. Immaculee found that forgiveness was necessary for her to feel happiness and joy. She also saw the bitterness and hate that other people had, which many people would view as justified. But she realized how crucial it was for her to forgive the people who massacred hundreds of thousands of people. She didn't want her entire life to be plagued with hate, and she also felt completely unable to forgive these people on her own. She found that only by relying on God and asking for help to forgive, she was able to do so.

The writing of this book isn't really stellar, but it's decent. The story is very compelling, though, and I was surprised by how much this book has affected me.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Holocaust experiences are hard to read about. I'm glad you liked this story.