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BONUS: This edition contains a Strength in What Remains discussion guide.

In Strength in What Remains, Tracy Kidder gives us the story of one man’s inspiring American journey and of the ordinary people who helped him, providing brilliant testament to the power of second chances. Deo arrives in the United States from Burundi in search of a new life. Having survived a civil war and genocide, he lands at JFK airport with two hundred dollars, no English, and no contacts. He ekes out a precarious existence delivering groceries, living in Central Park, and learning English by reading dictionaries in bookstores. Then Deo begins to meet the strangers who will change his life, pointing him eventually in the direction of Columbia University, medical school, and a life devoted to healing. Kidder breaks new ground in telling this unforgettable story as he travels with Deo back over a turbulent life and shows us what it means to be fully human.


Strength in What Remains
Average rating
3 / 5
A great story told in a not-so-great way
November 1st, 2014
I picked up this book because I like survivor stories. This one is all about Deo – an amazing survivor of the Rwanda/Burundi genocide. Thanks to his incredible story, I learned a lot about that horrific time. The topic is hard, but the book’s structure doesn’t help. Half-way through, it shifts perspectives from third-person to first-person. I much preferred the latter; it was more intimate and believable. Also, Kidder’s telling of the tale presents a bumpy mix of hard facts with Deo’s story so, overall, the focus and the emotion shifts at odd times.
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