Unnatural Resources by Mindy Uhrlaub is, I believe, my most serious read so far in 2022. The novel takes place in the Democratic Republic of Congo and mostly follows Therese, an eleven-year old girl.
Therese’s village is attacked one day by armed men and she sees her father killed right in front of her. She is attacked but manages to escape the village with Virgil, a boy she considers her unbrother – they have grown up together and are practically like siblings.
As the novel goes on, readers are taken on Therese’s journey to find her mother and little brother, her work with American filmmakers who are trying to shed light on the situation going on in the Congo, and her stays at a hospital and a community for women. What set Therese apart and helped save her during her heart wrenching journey is her ability to not only speak Swahili but English and French. Because she could speak, read, and write English and French she could translate for people and was a good subject for documentaries and interviews about the cruelty and brutality the General was inflicting on the people of the country.
While the novel is a fictional account, it is all too real. It is something that I have not thought much about prior to this novel. It was always something that seemed so far removed from me and my life. Of course, you hear a few things here and there on the news, but really not much and after reading Unnatural Resources I believe there definitely needs to be more attention brought to stories like this.
Parts were difficult to read because of how brutal they situations were, but Therese, her mother, brother, and friends all endured so much and it’s definitely worth reading.
*I was sent a complimentary copy of this book, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*