Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri is probably more of a tween read for 7-12th graders about one refugees journey and the memories of his early life.
In Oklahoma, in front of a group of his peers, Khosrou (or Daniel as everybody calls him), attempts to tell his story. It is a story that some might find hard to believe and one that no one, in fact, does believe. But all refugees suffer from a “patchwork memory” and, to Khosrou, it is the truest story he has every told because it is his life, as he remembers it.
To the kids around him, Khosrou is just a dark-skinned, smelly boy who talks about poop too much. But Khosrou’s stories stretch back years, even centuries, telling the tale of his families escape from Iran and the history leading up to it.
Author Daniel Nayeri, weaves his childhood present with history and myth creating a compelling story that is all his own and is, a truth.
What. A. Book. I listened to the audio book and now I am seriously wondering if the pace of the written story is the same as the audio version. Because all of these awful and depressing things happen, but the way the narrator reads and describes these things verges on nonchalant. I mean, the word that came to mind while reading this was “word vomit.” And yet, what is being written is so powerful and, I mean seriously, read this book with a highlighter and write down some of these passages. They are moving and have such an open truthfulness about them that the casual narrative is almost off putting.
I wonder if the author intended the narrative to be casual to offset “the heavy” in order to make it more accessible to younger readers? Either way, this book makes you think about the refugee experience and what is left behind vs. what is gained and the journey in between.
A powerful read. This one gets 5 stars from me and would be one I’d love to get some younger input on.
That’s all for now!