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on January 27, 2010
I first came across Ms. Kamara's book via the condensed version in the December 2009 Reader's Digest. Make no mistake, this is an extremely disturbing story. Be forewarned that if you read it and become aware of what happened to Ms. Kamara, and to many others in Sierra Leone and elsewhere, you may never again be able to live in ignorance of the human suffering that exists in the world.

I won't repeat the story, in part because it is very troubling and in part because you should read it as told by Ms. Kamara herself. She deserves the royalty. The book is for ages 14 and up and is intended, in part, for high school students, although it is also very much for adults. To read the story in her own words also allows the tremendous and unqualified triumph of the human spirit that is Mariatu Kamara to shine through.

According to reports I have read, Ms. Kamara is presently studying to be a counselor to people who have suffered as children from the atrocities of war. She is also a Special Representative for UNICEF and speaks to audiences and schools about her experiences.

For myself, reading this story brought home the realization that I have, over the years, missed opportunities to help and to give compassion to those who so need it. I wish I knew 30 years ago what I know now after reading the story of this beautiful and remarkable woman. Buy the book and donate it to your child or grandchild's school library. And, don't miss an opportunity to speak out for human rights, justice, and compassion!
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on August 11, 2010
This book is a must read. I was inspired by this book. I knew that poor countries had it rough, but I never realized how much we are missing out at knowing the real truth of what is going on in the real world. This book is a true story of what a woman had to face when she was a little girl at the age of twelve years old. Having lost her hands, by rebels cutting them off because of the war that occurred in Sirrea Leone. The rebels taken over all the villages stealing all the villagers food, clothing, burning their homes and etc. I was extremely shocked that about 400 people have lost their arms due to what? All because the rebels wanted the President to know what they are capable of doing. This girl is lucky, especially the ones who have survived this attack to walk away alive. I was happy when she was saved and a family took her in from Canada, where she could go to school and find a good job. As we all know she is a special representative with UNICIEF.

I will stop there, because I don't want to give the whole book away. I know what it is like when a person gives a review of a book and gives away the whole book. When that happens, there is no point in reading the book no more.

I will leave you with this though if you want to read an amazing book, buy this book. I garuantee you won't regret it! You will not be able to put the book down just what I experienced. This Memoir of what this girl went through is a shocking story that people must know. Some people have an easy life and some people don't. So the next time you think you have a hard life, just think of what this girl had to go through and others that live in third world countries.
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on December 21, 2010
Even though part of the life of this girl is just really not nice, it is a must read. She doesn't dwell on these bad parts and tells them just as they were and only for the importance of the whole story. Other than that, this book is so motivating, and great to read because of what it means to have a life purpose. You can just sit and be the victim, whether you actually are or not, or you can take action and stand up for what you really want. It makes me realize that I should be happy with what I have, and that I should be way bolder in trying to achieve to find and act upon my life purpose.
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on April 11, 2010
I could not put this book down. Well wriiten and a horrific tale of the children of Sierra Leone. Will the suffering and the torture of young children ever stop.
This book is worth reading. Very well wriiten even though it is a horrific true account of someone who lived through this.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 28, 2013
Story Description:

Annick Press|September 12, 2008|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 13:978-1-55451-158-7

The astounding story of one girl's journey from war victim to UNICEF Special Representative.

As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry.

But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived. Heavily armed rebel soliders, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu. During this brutal act of senseless violence they cut off both her hands.

Stumbling through the countryside, Mariatu miraculously survived. The sweet taste of a mango, her first food after the attack, reaffirmed her desire to live, but the challenge of clutching the fruit in her bloodied arms reinforced the grim new reality that stood before her. With no parents or living adult to support her and living in a refugee camp, she turned to begging in the streets of Freetown.

In the gripping and heartbreaking true story, Mariatu shares with readers the details of the brutal attack, its aftermath and her eventual arrival in Toronto. There she began to pull together the pieces of her broken life with courage, astonishing resilience and hope.

My Review:

Mariatu Kamara, eleven-years-old lived with her aunt Marie, uncle Alie, and cousins in a small village in Sierra Leone called Magborou. There were only about 200 people living there. The eight houses in the village were made out of clay, with wood and tin roofs, and several families lived in each one. Magborou was an extremely poor village and none of the children attended school because their help was needed on the farms.

When Mariatu was seven-years-old she was big enough to carry plastic jugs of water and straw baskets filled with corn on her head. She spent her mornings planting and harvesting. They grew peanuts, rice, peppers, sweet potatoes, and cassava which is like a potato. During the afternoon, Mariatu would play hide-and-seek with her cousins and friends. At night she spent time dancing to the sound of drums and people singing. Once each week the whole village got together to watch as people put on performances.

Mariatu was eleven when the war came to Sierra Leone. The chariman of their village had heard that violent rebels were destroying villages and killing people in eastern Sierra Leone but were headed toward Magborou. The rebels wanted to overthrow the government which they accused of being corrupt and not helping people. The villages were hearing that the rebels weren't just killing people but also torturing them.

The chairman of Magborou decided that the villagers should move to another village named Manarma in hopes of avoiding the rebels. He felt they would all be safer there and there were a lot more people in Manarma.

As they slept and woke in their new village they could hear gunshots in the distance. They were all quiet with no singing, dancing, or drum playing. Some of the elders ordered Mariatu and some others to walk back to their village of Magborou to retrieve some food from the supply bin. Mariatu was afraid and didn't want to go but you didn't disobey elders. She and some others set out together but they never reached Magborou. During their trek they had to pass through another village and as soon as they entered it they heard gunshots. About ten of them had left for Magborou from Manarma. The older men in the group decided they should wait until the gunfire ended before going any further. After awhile the men in the group decided to send Mariatu and another kid, Adamsay back to Manarma just to be safe. They began walking.

When they reached the outskirts of Manarma, they stopped near the soccer field. They couldn't see or hear anybody which they thought was very unusual. Suddenly they saw soldiers of some sort who were bare-chested with bullets wrapped around their bodies. Adamsay was frightened and began to run away but a man came out of nowhere and caught her by the waist. He threw her down in the dust beside Mariatu. He had several guns slung over his shoulders. Another soldier came and they pushed the two kids into the village. Mariatu could now see that the soldiers had taken over the village going in and out of people's houses, robbing them of people's possessions. The soldiers ordered Mariatu and Adamsay to sit on the ground and tied their hands behind their backs. A few minutes later, a couple of the soliders took Mariatu into the bushes and cut off both her hands with a machete. What happened after this was truly horrible. An atrocity!

I give Mariatu a lot of credit for what she saw, what she endured and for having the courage to come forward and tell her story. The Bite of the Mango is a story of bravery, courage, resilience, strength, and of moving forward. I would highly recommend that everyone read this memoir.
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I read this book over the weekend - it's a pretty quick read, and although the subject matter could possibly get the reader down, Mariatu Kamara was able to tell us her story without drawing out anger, hatred and bitterness. In reality, we are told a story that honestly tells us what being a victim of such horrible violence means - how the villagers targeted and harmed by the rebels really didn't understand the greater picture of what was happening in Sierra Leone. Because of this civil war, there is a generation of victims who will carry the burden of either being harmed by the child soldiers or by being forced to be a child soldier. A pretty simplistic look at what happened, great for a young adult audience.
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on November 21, 2011
This is not a story for the faint of heart. The trauma endured by Mariatu is heart rending. Hard to comprehend from the vantage point of life in North America.
Incredible courage is demonstrated as Mariatu moves forward in her life and has to leave behind the country and people she loved to take advantage of an opportunity to live in safety and to get an education. Hopefully through her story and her ongoing effort to help others in Sierra Leone, good things will come from all of this tragedy. My deepest respect to you Mariatu. May God bless you richly.
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on October 25, 2015
I started to read this book while I was pregnant after hearing about it in a magazine. I had to stop reading it as I was pregnant at the time and there is a part in the book where a pregnant woman is murdered and I couldn't handle the emotions of it. Sent it over to my mom. This is the only reason I was not able to give full stars for this book.
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on July 5, 2014
there was struggle, sadness, savory, independence, and will- everything about this book is amazing. The author , Mariatu Kamara is an amazing person and has made it so far in her life. She is great!!!
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on February 9, 2013
This book is fantastic. A real joy to read. Enticing, exciting, memorable. A good read. Definitely worth it. Those who were involved with the book did a great job.
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