Songs of a War Boy
Deng Thiak Adut
Rating: 4 / 5
It’s tempting to categorise this as just another ‘boy indifficult circumstances makes good’ story with which the world of books is littered. Tempting, but that would seriously undersell this man’s journey.
There are three broad sections. Firstly, Deng’s boyhood and conscription into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. The horrors of war and the training required so that people can deliberately kill other people are vividly told, as are the illnesses that almost took his life.
Secondly, his brother arranged his escape from Sudan to Kenya and refugee sponsorship by the UN to Australia.
Thirdly, his life in Australia involving learning a new language, various jobs, study, relationships, and the never-ending nightmares of his experiences as a boy soldier.
Deng Adut is now a Sydney lawyer and helps other Sudanese refugees. He was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2017. A most interesting book that’s well worth reading.