#32 ~ The Camel Bookmobile

July 16, 2007 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Books, Culture, Disappointment, Reading | 5 Comments
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The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

Kim’s comment about saving boring books for an even more boring plane ride pretty much sums up the first half to 2/3 of this book. If I had read it when I was detained in such a dull place I would have had the pleasant surprise of the book turning around and making me want to find out what happens to the people we met in Kenya. What struck me about this book was how different yet alike all humans are. We rebel against establishment and then run back into its comforting embrace. When we are deeply wronged, we return to the person or situation that hurt us instead of moving on. the hurt you know is more comfortable than the joy that might be found in the unknown. And, when it’s all said and done, you cannot change people. You can only change yourself.

I have read several reviews of this book on Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores. Those people who have left comments overwhelmingly loved this book. I’m open to the idea that I might not have been in the right place to appreciate it. I’ve gotten a little weary of reading at this point and haven’t yet gotten my second wind. It’s a great possibility. That being said, I can’t agree with those who would like to see this book added to high school reading lists. On the outside, you have a woman who leaves the comfort of her homeland and travels to Africa in an effort to bring books and literacy to another people. That concept is certainly promising, I have to admit that. However, there is much discussion of female genital mutilation and other sexual content that I would consider inappropriate to be required reading. Before I get flamed, I’m in no way advocating burning or banning books. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable assigning that book to an entire student population. What do you think?


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  1. Awful books are for long plane rides or when not reading them is even more boring…..

  2. I would agree with your comment about not assigning this book to students in high school, particularly if it is dealing with topics such as genital mutilation.

    I don’t believe in banning books either, but there is a big difference between banning a book, and merely not assigning it as a school text due to its advanced subject matter. I think it is a perfectly reasonable to not expect students who are 14-18 years of age to not yet be prepared for certain topics. The topic of genital mutilation was part of a course I took in my fourth year of university and I still found it incredibly disturbing. Discussing it while in the mid-teens – probably not appropriate yet at that age.

  3. b*babbler,

    You are right about that. There is a big difference between banning and not assigning. Shoot, I’m 35 and when I looked that up on Wikipedia, it made me queasy.

  4. We actually watched a video (yes, a VIDEO) in which a mutilation took place in the course I took. To this day it gives me nightmares, and I didn’t, and couldn’t, even look at the screen while it was on. The sound alone was more than enough to convey the horror of it.

  5. Heck, most teenagers in that age group are embarassed talking about genitals. Is it any surprise that this would be way over the top for them?

    I even find it difficult to believe that this topic would be discussed during a college course. I usually don’t use the religious card, but this is the one time that I would have, claiming that I couldn’t be part of this discussion.

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