How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringyimana

Sandra was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. She had watched as rebels gunned down her mother and six-year-old sister in a refugee camp. Remarkably, the rebel didn’t pull the trigger, and Sandra escaped.

Thus began a new life for her and her surviving family members. With no home and no money, they struggled to stay alive. Eventually, through a United Nations refugee program, they moved to America, only to face yet another ethnic disconnect. Sandra may have crossed an ocean, but there was now a much wider divide she had to overcome. And it started with middle school in New York.

In this memoir, Sandra tells the story of her survival, of finding her place in a new country, of her hope for the future, and how she found a way to give voice to her people.

I received this book for free from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’ve been on a memoir kick so when I saw this one pop up on Edelweiss I was instantly intrigued. I have heard about some of the traumatic events that have happened in Africa, but I can’t say I know a lot about them or really understood what they all meant. I can’t even begin to fathom what Sandra went through. There are many aspects of my childhood where I was not the most fortunate (by U.S. standards). However…. compared to some of the memoirs I’ve read and the plights of children in other countries (especially war torn countries) my life is very privileged. It’s interesting being able to put things into perspective.

I love how this was written. Although there are technically two authors, it feels as though only Sandra wrote it. It’s extremely approachable and, at times, vivid. There is still a flow to it. It flows from the past to the present with an impressive ease. I can’t really say that there was a point where I struggled with the writing or the story. I couldn’t really binge read it because it definitely messed with my emotions, but I wouldn’t say that was an issue with the writing. If anything, that just shows how impressive the writing was!

I loved everything that Sandra touched on with her history. It definitely provided different views on things that are not quite talked about easily here in the States. She talked about the impact the war had on her family, the emotions and trauma of seeing her sister get killed as well as the emotional damage events involving other family members had on her, and so much more. It’s interesting to see how these events shaped her life and how she allowed them to shape her choices as she grew up.

I highly recommend this book to pretty much everyone. I think it would be a great read for middle and high schoolers. It definitely would give them a different perspective than what they may have gone through or experienced. I’m definitely interested in seeking out more information on the happenings in the Congo and in Africa as a result. It’s also been able to give me a new perspective on my own life.


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