By Richard Bellamy
by Adam Labriny 3-15-2003
Boy is a challenging novel
geared toward 13-16 year olds. Saharan
Boy is about a boy named Hamid Mbarka and his mom, Fatima, his dad, Hassan,
his brother Ali and his sister, Ayeesha.
The novel takes
place in Morocco in the 1980's. At the beginning of the story, the family lives
in the city of Rasheedia. Hamid thought his life was pretty good. But when his
father gets called to war everything changes.
Hassan is sent to the Sahara to fight the Polisario. He is kidnapped
and the military leaders believe he is dead.
The family is left with no source of income.
When Fatima can't pay rent, the greedy landlord comes and takes their
little house away. They are forced
to move in with some relatives in Fez. When they get to Fez, they discover that
their new home is in a shantytown. They
also learn that finding work is very hard.
Hamid, his brother and sister, his mom, his aunt and his uncle did any
job they could just to earn the slightest amount of money. Then his sister got
fatally sick. His pretty good life had turned into a difficult struggle for
Then Hamid got an
idea. He decided to go back to
the military base in Rasheedia to check on the status of his father and see
if he had returned. While his mom was out working, Hamid left his younger brother
in charge of his sister and set out on his journey to Rasheedia. He
hitchhikes to a town in the middle of nowhere, and soon realizes the man who
picked him up is about to betray him.
While Hamid is snoozing the car stops.
The driver is telling a policeman that he found a wanted member of a
gang. Hamid manages to escape and runs off in a direction he hopes is toward
the Atlas Mountains.
Many things happen
on Hamid's journey to Rasheedia. I don't want to give away the whole story,
but if you want to know how the rest of the story goes, I suggest you read the
book. However, you should know that it is harsh reading. There is nothing happy
about this story, and if you require happy endings this is not for you.
I loved the book
because it talks a lot about the Moroccan culture. But I was disappointed in
the ending because I felt like I was left hanging. Hamid's problems never got
solved and his life was still horrible. That sort-of aggravated me.
Maybe the author was trying to make the reader feel like Hamid, never
knowing what was coming next in his life. However…
I'm waiting for the sequel.
Rating on a scale
of 1 to 10: 8
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