On a beautiful end-of-summer evening, overlooking the vinyards of Sweet Cheeks Winery, our book club met. We ate, sipped, and discussed Little Princes, by Conor Grennan.
Well, sort of sweet, and sort of sob…
If you are not familiar with this book, it’s one man’s story about his at-first-unwilling encounter with “orphan” children. It’s about an arrogant regime, a rebel takeover, and the horrors of war. It’s about hapless victims and those who prey on them. It’s about human trafficking. It’s about the value of a single small life.
No, no. This book has nothing to do with Syria, except in a universal sense. It’s about Nepal and the 10-year civil war there that finally ended in 2007. It’s a sweet, sometimes funny account of Grennan’s quest to care for child victims and reunite them with their families. (Please don’t think Three Cups of Tea here. Some similarities, but this book is true!)
We gave the book a good overall rating—close to 8 out of 10 as I recall. (We have a strong contingent of book editors in our group, so the scoring can be tough.)
Little Princes is a good book, but a hard read at times. Especially for me. As it turned out, it was unexpectedly personal. I was in Nepal at the same time Conor Grennan was there. In much the same area, in fact. I traveled with five others, traversing mountain roads, steep and winding and narrow, all of us packed into a tight fitting jeep. It was a bomb in the making. That’s because our vehicle had two huge containers of gasoline strapped to the back. Who knew when or if we could get more fuel from the Maoist rebels that held petrol stations captive. We, too, were detained in scorching heat. We, too, wondered what would happen to us. (We were only held for one day, though, after which we were ushered out at gun point.) Like Conor Grennan, I witnessed first-hand the horrors of human trafficking. I, too, heard the tragic stories of children sold and kidnapped and used in awful ways. It was almost too sad to bear.
What can be more amazing than opening a book and finding that, although the author doesn’t know I exist, it is about me?
“I laughed and cried at the same time, all the while wondering what stops me from following a passion.”
~Reader’s comment on Amazon~