A Review by Scott finished Feb. 2, 2009
This review will contain spoilers!
In many sentences:
The story of God Grew Tired of Us is truly amazing. John suffers so much throughout his journey, but at no point does he lose faith in God. He asks God - why? - many times, but he never stops believing that God is there, somewhere. It is inspiring to think of what he overcame to make it to America, and how hard he now works to improve the lives of those still in Sudan, rather than just enjoying the good life he has now. In spite of the inspiring story, and amazing journey John took, I do not think this is a book I can recommend to anyone that does not have an existing preference for true stories about overcoming difficult situations. I say this because, though it is always clear what is happening to John, the style in which it was written does a poor job of creating an evocative scene for the reader. It surprised me how John and Sweeney were able to take these harrowing events, and write them in such a way that they were not interesting in the least. After all, these things actually happened and the fact that John overcame them should make for a compelling read. Instead, the act of reading them was boring and tedious. Perhaps the film does a superior job of conveying the desperation and hardship the lost boys underwent, but the book fails in this regard. The part where John arrives in America was, in many ways, the most enjoyable to read. Perhaps it was because these were the events freshest in his mind, or because they were the pieces of the story I could most readily relate to. Still, it was fascinating and, at times, humorous to read as John became accustomed to his new life in the U.S. I originally assumed that the title was in reference to the fact that God must have grown tired of the lost boys of Sudan in order to allow all these awful things to happen to them. However, considering John only makes one vague reference to this type of thought, I realized that the title must mean something different. Now, I believe it God grew tired of these boys because, during these events, they prayed and worshipped him so much that He had had enough. Obviously, this is a more tongue-in-cheek interpretation but it seems fitting. Considering his own view on how blessed he was, he never once believed God had forsaken or forgotten about him. Ultimately, God Grew Tired of Us does tell an inspiring, heartbreaking story. Much of the heartbreak and inspiration, however, will come from your own imagination as you read, as the author provides very little to push you along this path. As a result I would not, in general, recommend this book. However, if you are a lover of true life stories of overcoming great odds, and of watching a young man"s faith remain strong in the face of adversity, you will most likely enjoy this book.
"I did not cry any more. There was no point in tears. One of the other boys whimpered from time to time, though. Desperation takes some getting used to."
John Bul Dau in God Grew Tired of Us
"Look at me, I said. I am a Lost Boy of Sudan. I have seen my share of death. When I lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, the hyenas came at night to feed on the bodies of the friends I had buried during the day. I have seen my village burned by armed invaders. I have been so hungry and thirsty in the dusty plains of Africa that I consumed things I would rather forget. I spent many nights wondering whether my family was alive or dead. I have crossed a crocodile-infested river while being shelled and shot at. I have walked until I thought I could walk no more and surely would die."
John Bul Dau in God Grew Tired of Us
"The night the Djellabas came to Duk Payuel, I remember that I had been feeling tense all over, as if my body were trying to tell me something."
John Bul Dau the First Line of God Grew Tired of Us
"That is my prayer not only for the scattered children of southern Sudan but also for the extended family I hope to make bloom, the latest in a long line of immigrants, in this magnificent land of second chances."
John Bul Dau the Last Line of in God Grew Tired of Us