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This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness

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Gilbert Tuhabonye is a survivor. More than ten years ago, he lay buried under a pile of burning bodies. The centuries–old battle between Hutu and Tutsi tribes had come to Gilbert's school. Fueled by hatred, the Hutus forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a small room and used machetes to beat most of them to death. The unfortunate ones who survived th Gilbert Tuhabonye is a survivor. More than ten years ago, he lay buried under a pile of burning bodies. The centuries–old battle between Hutu and Tutsi tribes had come to Gilbert's school. Fueled by hatred, the Hutus forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a small room and used machetes to beat most of them to death. The unfortunate ones who survived the beating were doused with gasoline and set on fire. After hiding under burning bodies for over eight hours, Gilbert heard a voice inside saying, "You will be all right; you will survive." He knows it was God speaking to him. Gilbert was the lone survivor of the genocide, and thanks his enduring faith in God for his survival. Today, having forgiven his enemies and moved forward with his life, he is a world–class athlete, running coach and celebrity in his new hometown of Austin, Texas. The road to this point has been a tough one, but Gilbert uses his survival instincts to spur him on to the goal of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. This Voice in my Heart will portray not only the horrific event itself, but will be a catalyst for people to understand real forgiveness and the gift of faith in God.


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Gilbert Tuhabonye is a survivor. More than ten years ago, he lay buried under a pile of burning bodies. The centuries–old battle between Hutu and Tutsi tribes had come to Gilbert's school. Fueled by hatred, the Hutus forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a small room and used machetes to beat most of them to death. The unfortunate ones who survived th Gilbert Tuhabonye is a survivor. More than ten years ago, he lay buried under a pile of burning bodies. The centuries–old battle between Hutu and Tutsi tribes had come to Gilbert's school. Fueled by hatred, the Hutus forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a small room and used machetes to beat most of them to death. The unfortunate ones who survived the beating were doused with gasoline and set on fire. After hiding under burning bodies for over eight hours, Gilbert heard a voice inside saying, "You will be all right; you will survive." He knows it was God speaking to him. Gilbert was the lone survivor of the genocide, and thanks his enduring faith in God for his survival. Today, having forgiven his enemies and moved forward with his life, he is a world–class athlete, running coach and celebrity in his new hometown of Austin, Texas. The road to this point has been a tough one, but Gilbert uses his survival instincts to spur him on to the goal of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. This Voice in my Heart will portray not only the horrific event itself, but will be a catalyst for people to understand real forgiveness and the gift of faith in God.

30 review for This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Coriander

    Gilbert has done a beautiful job of detailing a very painful memory, the murder and betrayal of classmates. At first I did not care for the way he jumps from the incident that changed his life to the memories of his home in Burundi. The more I read the more I came to realize that his childhood had as much to do with shaping his life as this traumatic event and deserved to be told. He is an amazing person who shows conviction and courage in everything he does. His story is compelling and will kee Gilbert has done a beautiful job of detailing a very painful memory, the murder and betrayal of classmates. At first I did not care for the way he jumps from the incident that changed his life to the memories of his home in Burundi. The more I read the more I came to realize that his childhood had as much to do with shaping his life as this traumatic event and deserved to be told. He is an amazing person who shows conviction and courage in everything he does. His story is compelling and will keep you turning the pages. Even through the horror of the murders that occurred at his school he downplays them and what he had to endure to survive. I have heard him speak on the radio several times and he never lingers over what that day cost him but talks of what he gained and how many people have helped him succeed. Gilbert's story at times is heart wrenching to read but he leaves you with a message about the journey. For every truly evil action there are people in this world with goodness in them as well. When I finished this book it left me with a new perspective on the important people in my life and how little everything else really matters.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    The first hand account from Gilbert is priceless though incredibly painful to read. He gives a perspective of hope and love of his country that is often forgotten when we read about or think about refugees out of Africa. Gilbert alternates between fond memories of Burundi to the flames that engulfed his school and classmates. Tears are to be expected with his story. Once again this African author comes through with hope on the other side. Definitely worth reading. Be prepared that his language ma The first hand account from Gilbert is priceless though incredibly painful to read. He gives a perspective of hope and love of his country that is often forgotten when we read about or think about refugees out of Africa. Gilbert alternates between fond memories of Burundi to the flames that engulfed his school and classmates. Tears are to be expected with his story. Once again this African author comes through with hope on the other side. Definitely worth reading. Be prepared that his language may not be "up to snuff" for some - but also consider his limited experience with English - he's positively wonderful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Newton

    It was disturbing to read about the atrocities this boy had to endure. It was unsettling that it was at the hands of the very people who were supposed to protect him. The equivalent would be if you were being terrorized and threatened by people who had broken into your home, only to find that when the police showed up, they joined in with the housebreakers! I cannot imagine such a level of hate. I can't imagine any conditions under which I could enjoy watching people--even people I hated--die in It was disturbing to read about the atrocities this boy had to endure. It was unsettling that it was at the hands of the very people who were supposed to protect him. The equivalent would be if you were being terrorized and threatened by people who had broken into your home, only to find that when the police showed up, they joined in with the housebreakers! I cannot imagine such a level of hate. I can't imagine any conditions under which I could enjoy watching people--even people I hated--die in such an agonizing way. Such inhumanity is incomprehensible. It was, ultimately, an uplifting testament to the endurance of the human spirit, and to a remarkable person.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diana Gonzalez

    Wow, this book was phenomenal!This Voice in My Heart is by far the best memoir I have ever read. I usually do not like reading memoirs but this, bygolly, the best. At the beginning of the memoir it started off really slow and was taking too long to get to the point. As I continued to read it, I began to get attached to it, it was difficult to put it down! Gilbert, the author, goes through many obstacles in his life but learns to overcome them. He is definitely a leader and I am glad he accomplis Wow, this book was phenomenal!This Voice in My Heart is by far the best memoir I have ever read. I usually do not like reading memoirs but this, bygolly, the best. At the beginning of the memoir it started off really slow and was taking too long to get to the point. As I continued to read it, I began to get attached to it, it was difficult to put it down! Gilbert, the author, goes through many obstacles in his life but learns to overcome them. He is definitely a leader and I am glad he accomplished everything he did as he grew older. This Voice in My Heart taught me many great lessons. I recommend this book to everyone!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary Blye Kramer

    “When her tears flowed.. she saw in those gnarled and twisted folds of my flesh a physical manifestation of the evil humans are capable of. In those tears and in her tender ministrations, I saw all the good humans can do for one another.” P 222 This is the heart of Tuhabonye, and this is one of the most captivating stories I’ve ever read. This is the astonishing story of one human being who endured torture and devastation at the hands of Hutu rebels in his home country of Burundi. The tales of hi “When her tears flowed.. she saw in those gnarled and twisted folds of my flesh a physical manifestation of the evil humans are capable of. In those tears and in her tender ministrations, I saw all the good humans can do for one another.” P 222 This is the heart of Tuhabonye, and this is one of the most captivating stories I’ve ever read. This is the astonishing story of one human being who endured torture and devastation at the hands of Hutu rebels in his home country of Burundi. The tales of his young life removed from technology and modernity is fascinating, and his determination to receive higher education and accomplish so much as an athlete are inspiring. What this young man endured and how he overcame his anger and physical injuries boggled my mind. Seldom do I feel the deep sincerity, the lack of pretension that pervades these pages. I loved this book on every level. I deeply admire this young man on every level.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Martin Torres

    Harrowing and inspiring story. Great read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    I'm not one much for God saved me narratives -- too often, other aspects of the story are brushed over. I'm a sucker for a good running memoir, though, and I was thrilled to find a book by a Burundian author. Going into this book requires a bit of Burundi's history. It's a poor country -- one of the five poorest countries in the world if you consider purchasing parity power -- and that poverty has been exacerbated by years of war. Although there's peace there now, that peace is recent, and both c I'm not one much for God saved me narratives -- too often, other aspects of the story are brushed over. I'm a sucker for a good running memoir, though, and I was thrilled to find a book by a Burundian author. Going into this book requires a bit of Burundi's history. It's a poor country -- one of the five poorest countries in the world if you consider purchasing parity power -- and that poverty has been exacerbated by years of war. Although there's peace there now, that peace is recent, and both countryside and people still bear scars. In 1993, violence broke out across the country after the president -- a Hutu -- was assassinated (one rebellion in a long line of them in Burundi). Among the ensuing attacks (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/... or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dxz9yE... for details on Ruyigi; what Maggy Barankitse has brought out of this is incredible) -- some against Hutus, some against Tutsis -- was the attack on the Tutsis at Lycee Kibimba, the school Tuhabonye attended. Tuhabonye, a runner with hopes of attending university in the U.S. -- and further hopes of taking his running to the Olympics -- was the sole survivor. It's an incredible story to read. It feels so impossible -- how can people do such things? -- that it must be fiction, but it's all there in the history books. The memorial monument pictured in the book brought it home for me -- I saw that monument a year before reading the book. Even without that, though, Tuhabonye -- and ghostwriter Gary Brozek -- did a wonderful job of conveying both Tuhabonye's happiness growing up in rural Burundi and the horror that followed at the end of his schooling. Definitely one that will stay on my shelves.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits The first thing I think to say about this memoir is that it is not a book for the faint-hearted. Tuhabonye does go into graphic detail of the violence he witnessed and experienced inflicted on Tutsi students by Hutu men. Secondly, this isn't really a running memoir either. Tuhabonye is indeed a runner and now a successful running coach, but that is only one aspect of his life. For me, The Running Man is a richly detailed memoir of a Burundian See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits The first thing I think to say about this memoir is that it is not a book for the faint-hearted. Tuhabonye does go into graphic detail of the violence he witnessed and experienced inflicted on Tutsi students by Hutu men. Secondly, this isn't really a running memoir either. Tuhabonye is indeed a runner and now a successful running coach, but that is only one aspect of his life. For me, The Running Man is a richly detailed memoir of a Burundian childhood, one which gives insights into a disappearing way of life. Expertly ghostwritten by Gary Brozek, I found The Running Man to be a compelling read from start to finish. Chapters about Tuhabonye's idyllic childhood, his determination to gain a good education, and the importance of his religious faith, are interspersed with horrific scenes of the later violence that would force him into exile from his country. This vivid contrast heightens both narratives. I know it is important to witness and to remember genocide in the hope that eventually humans will move beyond such indiscriminate hatred, however I don't think I could have stomached reading these scenes together as a whole chapter. Tuhabonye does explain the immediate triggers of the Burundian genocide and the historical cultural inequalities in which anger had simmered for generations. Still, there's a lot about humanity that I don't think I will ever truly understand. If you can bear (or skim read) the violence, I would highly recommend this memoir. Tuhabonye has an engaging voice and isn't afraid to show himself in negatives as well as positives. I am glad to have read this memoir, especially with its ultimate message of hope even after such a tragedy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    The parts about him the day of the genocide were really good and kept me interested but as for everything else, it was boring and usless info just went on and on. I would never recament it. I had to read it for a summer project and when usually I fly through the books that even most people cant even look at I was pulling my own teeth in order to get through it. Also some parts were confusing. For example he would write something like "I was to Sam and then Martha came over so I said goodbye to f The parts about him the day of the genocide were really good and kept me interested but as for everything else, it was boring and usless info just went on and on. I would never recament it. I had to read it for a summer project and when usually I fly through the books that even most people cant even look at I was pulling my own teeth in order to get through it. Also some parts were confusing. For example he would write something like "I was to Sam and then Martha came over so I said goodbye to fredrick." that isnt an exact sentance from the book but there were parts written very confusing like that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marlawanda Briley

    I loved this book. Hearing how much joy Gilbert and his family found in eachother, in their hard work and what they produced, made me realize how much I take what I have for granted. It made me appreciate all of what I have grown up and also helped me to realized that you don't miss what you don't have. Here was a boy who was thrilled that he could run from one hill to another, sing out and be heard by someone on the next hill over. I can't imagine any child I know who would be happy to run arou I loved this book. Hearing how much joy Gilbert and his family found in eachother, in their hard work and what they produced, made me realize how much I take what I have for granted. It made me appreciate all of what I have grown up and also helped me to realized that you don't miss what you don't have. Here was a boy who was thrilled that he could run from one hill to another, sing out and be heard by someone on the next hill over. I can't imagine any child I know who would be happy to run around, shoeless, in the heat and with no electrical devices to keep them busy and be happy about it. His joy permeated the pages.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Telvina

    This book made me feel that u can become many obstacles. In the book there is many flashbacks about his burns. At first the story starts out slow but at the middle it gets so interesting I love how he explains his life and how he loves running and when he was getting better from the injures didn't bring him down he keep trying to recover himself from those injures. He then goes threw a lot but he keeps on going even when his father passed away. A lot of stuff happened in the hospital that well s This book made me feel that u can become many obstacles. In the book there is many flashbacks about his burns. At first the story starts out slow but at the middle it gets so interesting I love how he explains his life and how he loves running and when he was getting better from the injures didn't bring him down he keep trying to recover himself from those injures. He then goes threw a lot but he keeps on going even when his father passed away. A lot of stuff happened in the hospital that well surprise you when they rape the girls and twist there legs so they wouldn't run away. And at the end there well be a big twist.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ladena.Quillen

    Good book! I love how the author tells his life story. I also like how there were pages in italic fonts, that tell what happens to Gilbert in the past, during his childhood. His life was inspiring to me because, he went through a struggle with genocide, the fire where he was the only one to survive and by having faith in God he achieved his life goals. This is an inspiring book to me because, i am a teenager and i play sports and his ambition and drive make me want to do the same and be better i Good book! I love how the author tells his life story. I also like how there were pages in italic fonts, that tell what happens to Gilbert in the past, during his childhood. His life was inspiring to me because, he went through a struggle with genocide, the fire where he was the only one to survive and by having faith in God he achieved his life goals. This is an inspiring book to me because, i am a teenager and i play sports and his ambition and drive make me want to do the same and be better in my sport.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lesly

    This voice in my Heart is a memoir of Gilbert a runner that had to overcome many obstacles to archive his goals. This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read and honestly I do not like memoirs or nonfiction books. The story of Gilbert for me is a very inspirational story of success and faith. People should never give up to archive their goals and dreams. At the beginning the book start so slow but as you get to the middle start to go fast and you can put the book down. I highly recommend to This voice in my Heart is a memoir of Gilbert a runner that had to overcome many obstacles to archive his goals. This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read and honestly I do not like memoirs or nonfiction books. The story of Gilbert for me is a very inspirational story of success and faith. People should never give up to archive their goals and dreams. At the beginning the book start so slow but as you get to the middle start to go fast and you can put the book down. I highly recommend to read this book you would like it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daisy

    Gilbert's personal sotry was horrific yet completely fascinating. I was continuously trying to put myself in his shoes and know that he is a special man to have survived such genocide and savagery. I always enjoy the opportunity to read books about other cultures and periods as it gives me such perspective that we are blessed to live in this country with the opportunities that it provides us. I am very much looking forward to hearing him speak at our Book Club. It will be very interesting! Gilbert's personal sotry was horrific yet completely fascinating. I was continuously trying to put myself in his shoes and know that he is a special man to have survived such genocide and savagery. I always enjoy the opportunity to read books about other cultures and periods as it gives me such perspective that we are blessed to live in this country with the opportunities that it provides us. I am very much looking forward to hearing him speak at our Book Club. It will be very interesting!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lizbeth Valdez

    This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, was a very inspirational book. I like how Gilbert was born into a lot of difficult situations but he didn't let those obstacles stop him in reaching his dreams. The fact that he came from a poor resources and ended up competing with some of the greatest. This motivates me to do better in everything I do, that's why I think it's a very inspirational book. This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, was a very inspirational book. I like how Gilbert was born into a lot of difficult situations but he didn't let those obstacles stop him in reaching his dreams. The fact that he came from a poor resources and ended up competing with some of the greatest. This motivates me to do better in everything I do, that's why I think it's a very inspirational book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daja

    I loved this memoir! Gilbert is a true underdog. He was destined for failure but still kept his head up no matter what came between him and his goal. He is so strong, inside and out, heart and in soul. I truly learned a great deal from this memoir.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I believe this book is great. I feel like some parts of it connect to me. The way he has to compete and his life is a struggle. I can connect to that.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    This book had some interesting parts. The words and the names were difficult to read and understand the meaning. I feel like many people connect to Gilbert and how he felt throughout the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Pletcher

    This is the true story about the Author. Gilbert spent his first 18 years of life in Burundi. He grew up with a loving, Tutsi family and extended family, attended school, was a good student, and a champion runner. All of that came to an end in 1993 when he was a high school junior. The Hutu president was overthrown and killed and the Hutu people living in Burundi revolted. They came after innocent Tutsi people and started killing them by the 1000s. Gilbert was at school during an attack and he w This is the true story about the Author. Gilbert spent his first 18 years of life in Burundi. He grew up with a loving, Tutsi family and extended family, attended school, was a good student, and a champion runner. All of that came to an end in 1993 when he was a high school junior. The Hutu president was overthrown and killed and the Hutu people living in Burundi revolted. They came after innocent Tutsi people and started killing them by the 1000s. Gilbert was at school during an attack and he was the only student from his school that survived. He had hidden under his burned classmates - was severely burned himself during the attack - but he managed to escape while all of his friends and fellow students perished. Gilbert is hospitalized for 3 months and starts the road to healing both emotionally and physically. He finishes school and started to attend college, but goes after his goal of going to college in the United States and becoming a world recognized track star. He achieves his dream, and now lives in Austin Texas with his wife and children. He has long forgiven the people who wronged him and the Tutsi people, but he states he will never return to Burundi. He still fears for his life there - sure that the Hutu would come after him and kill him if he returned. I liked this book. (which sounds weird considering the content). The writing was fantastic and the story so intriguing that I kept reading even when I should have long gone to bed. His book goes back and forth between his childhood and growing up in a Burundi that he loved and cherished, and the day of the attack. He states that even now, he still looks back on his life in Burundi before the attack with much fondness and he cherishes the good memories he had from there. Gilbert's book was written in 2007 when he was training for the Olympics (I looked him up, but it looks like he didn't go), and had won several awards as a runner. He wrote this amazing book about his experience and continues to talk about his life in Burundi. He has co-founded a non-profit called The Gazelle Foundation to help improve the lives of the Burundi people. His story is inspriational and tragic, and I am so glad I had a chance to read it. His quote "it is easy to light a fire and difficult to extinguish it" speaks to his perserverance despite everything he has been through.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ross Lampert

    This is the first autobiography I’ve read, which makes it hard to evaluate. The book is the story of the life of Gilbert Tuhabonye, from the central African nation of Burundi, up to about 2005. Like its neighbor Rwanda, Burundi has suffered from serious conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes for decades. The genocidal spasm that afflicted Rwanda was well known at the time, but Burundi has had its own troubles as well, and Tuhabonye was nearly killed in one in October, 1993. Tuhabonye presents This is the first autobiography I’ve read, which makes it hard to evaluate. The book is the story of the life of Gilbert Tuhabonye, from the central African nation of Burundi, up to about 2005. Like its neighbor Rwanda, Burundi has suffered from serious conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes for decades. The genocidal spasm that afflicted Rwanda was well known at the time, but Burundi has had its own troubles as well, and Tuhabonye was nearly killed in one in October, 1993. Tuhabonye presents his life growing up on a farm in southern Burundi as idyllic, and given that he knew little of the world beyond his local community, that’s not a surprise. Sub-Saharan Africa is lush, so his immediate and extended families did well enough with their crops and cattle to do more than merely survive. However, Tuhabonye’s description of this life as he grows up and starts going to school goes on for chapters, and for me this portion of the book dragged. Even the stories about his discovery that he was an exceptional runner, and the awards and other benefits that brought him, became tiring, although running is what eventually brought him to the United States and his role, at least as of 2005, as a professional distance runner and running coach. Tuhabonye and co-writer Gary Brozek skillfully weave the days of rage that led to Tuhabonye’s near death in between the other chapters. While that murderous time lasted just a few days for Tuhabonye, he and Brozek explain its background and share Tuhabonye’s confusion, tension, fear, and ultimate determination to live through many interludes between the descriptions of all the years leading up to them. The authors do not dwell on the horrific events that left Tuhabonye badly burned, but neither do they shy away from describing them. It’s truly remarkable that he was able to survive and recover as well as he did, given the limited care his burns and other injuries received. The final two chapters and epilogue cover Tuhabonye’s recovery, return to running, acceptance to a number of U.S. colleges, and even his participation in various major track competitions in the U.S. and internationally. While he won many awards, he did not achieve his goal of competing in the 2004 Olympics. In a way, that’s a relief, keeping the book from becoming too much of an exercise in self-congratulation. To be sure, Tuhabonye’s survival itself is amazing, to say nothing of his recovery to the point that he could compete at very high levels. Even more remarkable, perhaps, is his ability to accept and move on from the horrors he experienced, which included being the lone survivor of the brutality that took so many of his friends. His ability to forgive those who committed such despicable acts is a tribute to the power of his faith. Overall, the book is well-written and easy to read. Unlike a memoir, This Voice offers no lessons Tuhabonye wishes the reader to learn, at least not directly. However, athletes, especially runners, those who enjoy autobiographies, and those who enjoy stories of faith triumphant will likely appreciate this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Slymandra

    [Around the World challenge: Burundi] I was a little reluctant to pick this book because an athlete's memoirs is really not something I would spontaneously pick up. But it was in fact about the second Burundian genocide (which is strongly linked to the Rwandan genocide). We learn both about the author's happy childhood in rural Burundi and about the day Hutus slaughtered almost all of the Tutsi students attending the narrator's high school. As you can imagine the story in gripping and you can ha [Around the World challenge: Burundi] I was a little reluctant to pick this book because an athlete's memoirs is really not something I would spontaneously pick up. But it was in fact about the second Burundian genocide (which is strongly linked to the Rwandan genocide). We learn both about the author's happy childhood in rural Burundi and about the day Hutus slaughtered almost all of the Tutsi students attending the narrator's high school. As you can imagine the story in gripping and you can hardly believe the horrors human beings are capable of. The writing is accessible which is a good thing because I think hearing about stories like this one is important for humanity no to make the same mistakes again. To be really honest, I didn't know that the Hutu/Tutsi conflict had a direct impact anywhere but in Rwanda.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Uncle Alfred

    This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness tells a story of surviving a genocide with a huge amount of guilt. The wings on his feet may be a gift to run from his past nightmares. This book is intensely redemptive as sufferings of Jesus remind this young man that he will survive. As God whispers to his heart, you are amazed that one so brutally hurt can say,"I am a very, very fortunate man to have lost and to have gained so much." After reading this book, you wi This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness tells a story of surviving a genocide with a huge amount of guilt. The wings on his feet may be a gift to run from his past nightmares. This book is intensely redemptive as sufferings of Jesus remind this young man that he will survive. As God whispers to his heart, you are amazed that one so brutally hurt can say,"I am a very, very fortunate man to have lost and to have gained so much." After reading this book, you will have no doubt that forgiveness is divine and humanly impossible without the Spirit of God.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maud (reading the world challenge)

    [#76 Burundi] I'll be honest, I was not particularly thrilled about reading an athlete's memoirs, but it turned out differently than what I expected. There are two intertwined stories in this book: the first one being the tale of a happy childhood in rural Burundi, and the second one, the story of the attack on the Tutsis at Lycée Kibimba, the school the author attended. Such horrifying events are almost impossible to process because you don't want to believe humanity can be that cruel. I was bl [#76 Burundi] I'll be honest, I was not particularly thrilled about reading an athlete's memoirs, but it turned out differently than what I expected. There are two intertwined stories in this book: the first one being the tale of a happy childhood in rural Burundi, and the second one, the story of the attack on the Tutsis at Lycée Kibimba, the school the author attended. Such horrifying events are almost impossible to process because you don't want to believe humanity can be that cruel. I was blown away by the author's tenacity in the way he overcame so many obstacles and became an accomplished man and athlete.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristin R

    July 2017 Book Club Selection. Gilbert Tuhabonye survived a single, horrendous, pivotal event, and that shaped every decision in his life after that point. This book tells the beautiful story of his upbringing in rural Burundi, while intertwining the events of that horrible day. Then, it goes on to show his survival, his progress and his forgiveness.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Royle

    This memoir is from a man who has lived many experiences. He is a gifted student and runner -- Olympic grade running! However, he comes from war-torn Burundi where he barely escaped death. He details his experiences in detail. It's hard to believe someone could go through so much and still create a rewarding life for himself and his family. A very good and interesting read! This memoir is from a man who has lived many experiences. He is a gifted student and runner -- Olympic grade running! However, he comes from war-torn Burundi where he barely escaped death. He details his experiences in detail. It's hard to believe someone could go through so much and still create a rewarding life for himself and his family. A very good and interesting read!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kate Throp

    Fascinating in terms of the history and continuation of conflict in Burundi, horrifying in what people will do to each other, but although his obvious love for his country shines through I found it or him a little disconnected. There was something about him that I just didn’t click with, and the god thing was always going to be a problem. In fact that made me really grumpy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I highly recommend this book!! It’s not action packed or even full of uplifting stories.... however, the perspective you gain, the drive and determination Gilbert shows... you can’t close the book and not be moved.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ಥ_ಥ

    I'll give this a 2.5. I wasn't really into the writing, to be honest. What he went through in Burundi was absolutely awful. I respect him whole heartily. The cultural differences were interesting, but it was hard for me to read more then 15 pages at a time. I'll give this a 2.5. I wasn't really into the writing, to be honest. What he went through in Burundi was absolutely awful. I respect him whole heartily. The cultural differences were interesting, but it was hard for me to read more then 15 pages at a time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anna Potter

    Perspective on the Rwandan genocide

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tamar

    amazing book about the resilience of human nature and the story of a man fighting to exist

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