by Paul Harris
After reading that sentence I knew I had to read this book.
*** The Plot ***
Danny is a British journalist whose life has never been the same since his trip to Sierra Leone four years ago. His time in that war-torn country, meeting Maria, the woman of his dreams, and seeing the brutality of a war fought using children, changed him. Back in England Danny is on auto-pilot, ghosting through his own life. When he receives a letter from Maria asking for his help he begins to come back to life. Unfortunately, it is too late for Maria - she is already dead. Danny goes back to Sierra Leone anyway, hoping to find out what really happened to her. But things are not as they were four years before. Peace has come to the country, and with it a whole host of new secrets ...
*** What It Is Really About ***
The central theme of this book is the idea of right and wrong and whether or not the line between them can ever be blurred. Do circumstances determine morality or is it always as simple as black and white?
This is a heavy but completely relevant topic and Harris does an excellent job with it in this book. It is obviously an issue he has struggled with personally, as you'll see in the interview with him that I'm posting tomorrow.
*** My Thoughts ***
This is an amazing book. Once I picked it up I could not put it down. The characters, the writing, the pace - all of it worked for me. I will definitely be looking for future books by Paul Harris.
As one reviewer pointed out, this book brings social issues to the forefront without being preachy. For me, it is similar to the way historical fiction teaches you about history while still drawing you into the story. THE SECRET KEEPER makes you think. What would YOU do in Danny's situation?
Before reading this book I had just read LITTLE BEE and listened to MR. PIP. Both of those books related to this one in so many ways. Don't you love when your reading converges like that?
Oh, and I highly recommend this book.
*** Other Reviews ***
This book has been getting a lot of attention lately, and deservedly so. Here are a few reviews that you may want to check out.
- My Friend Amy - short and to the point
- Musings of a Bookish Kitty - her review is very detailed and includes much more of the plot
- Maw Books - she enjoyed the book but was turned off by the bad language (FYI, there is bad language but nothing like in Oscar Wao - I felt it was appropriate and not overdone)
- If you want to know a bit more about Paul Harris, hop over to this interview he did with Maw Books where he talks about his own experiences as a journalist covering wars.