Recently in my book club we read and discussed the book The Bite of the Mango, by Mariatu Kamara. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend you do!
This is a non-fiction book about the account of a pre-teen who in the midst of Civil War in Sierra Leone has her hands cut off by the rebels. The book chronicles her struggle from the time her hands are cut off up to getting help, recovering, and re-building her life.
This a an excellent book about war, courage, and determination. This is a true survival story of someone who is so determined and has an incredible amount of inner strength. I really enjoyed reading about how she endured and overcame. It's eye opening, inspiring,and a great book to read. Two thumbs up for Bite of the Mango. This book is good for both teens and adults to read and discuss. While you are at it, add "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah to your list, too. That book is about boy soldiers of the same war and a survival story of one boy who was made to be one of those rebel soldiers. Also, a great book!
- Jacqueline Bodnar
While searching for discussion questions for this book I couldn't find a list of them online anywhere. So I put together my own list of questions, with borrowing the last three from other online sources. If you have a book club and need discussion questions for The Bite of the Mango, feel free to use and share the list below.
“The Bite of the Mango” Discussion Questions
- Describe what characteristics of Mariatu’s personality that help to survive and thrive through all she has been through. What kind of person is she?
- Mariatu blames herself for the death of her son. What do you think is the real cause of why the baby died?
- Mariatu crosses paths with Fatama, who ends up helping her and staying with her. Why do you think Fatama put forth such an effort? What type of personality did she have that motivated her to do such a thing?
- If you went through all Mariatu went through, would you be able to go back to your home country to visit or live?
- Which character in the book did you like the most and why?
- What are your thoughts on how Mariatu didn’t want to stay in England and pushed for moving to Canada?
- If you were Mariatu, how difficult would it have been for you to meet Ishmael Beah, who was a former Rebel soldier?
- Mariatu survived more physical and emotional pain than most of us can imagine. The emotional wounds must be as deep as the physical wounds. Is it possible for such deep emotional wounds to heal? How has Mariatu endured and overcome?
- Most of the soldiers in this war were children. They carried out unspeakable acts of terror. Should these child soldiers be held responsible? Are they victims too? How should their actions be addressed?
- What has happened in Sierra Leone since the publication of The Bite of the Mango? Have the people of Sierra Leone made a lasting peace? What has become of the child soldiers and the refugees of conflict in the region?
- How has the rest of the world responded to events in Sierra Leone?