Thursday, 7 May 2020

The Journey by Abdul Musa Adam


The Journey by Abdul Musa Adam with Ros Wynne-Jones
Published in the UK by Mirror Books on the 9th April 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The astonishing true story of one boy's journey across the globe in search of a safe place to live.

Raised by a tribe of nomads in Darfur, Abdul was just 7 years old when the government began a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign against his people. The Sudanese army killed his entire family and burned his home to the ground.

Abdul narrowly escaped with his 3-year-old brother Yusuf, and together they fled to Chad. There they endured appalling conditions in one of the world's most impoverished refugee camps.

Until one day Abdul was offered the chance of a better life. A chance fraught with danger that would force him to make the most heartbreaking decision of his life.

Abdul's death-defying journey eventually led him to the UK, where his love of animals provided a lifeline, and he landed a job as a stable boy.

But the choice he made that day in Chad would continue to haunt him...

Abdul Musa Adam's life story is one of quite incredible resilience. Against almost insurmountable odds, he has not only survived repeated instances of the worst of human behaviour, but continued to persevere, travelling thousands of miles across two continents, until he could finally find a safe refuge in which to make himself a new home. That he needed to achieve all this before even becoming an adult is heartbreaking. In his memoir, The Journey, Abdul recounts his life from his nomadic Darfuri childhood to his current position as a Rider Groom at Kingsclere racing stables (who train the Queen's horses).

This account comes across with great honesty and sincerity. Abdul discusses not only the extensive traumas of his eight year journey to safety, but also the ongoing mental health problems he has as a result and how the opportunity to work with racehorses has been so beneficial for his healing. I was reminded of Syrian swimmer, Yusra Mardini's memoir, Butterfly, in which sport was also so vital to her overcoming the emotional effects of her time as a young refugee. The book is a shocking memoir of how easily lives can be totally disrupted and destroyed, and it also left me unimpressed with several aspects of England's care of young refugees. The first hostel in particular does not sound like a suitable place, however temporary, for unaccompanied children. Thank goodness Abdul was able to eventually find good friends such as Ira who took it upon themselves to help him find his feet.

The Journey is a very readable memoir thanks, no doubt, to Ros Wynne-Jones talents as a journalist, but I always felt that I was hearing Abdul's true voice without any overlay. His account provides a memorable insight into a very different life experience and tells a story which I hope will be widely read so more English people can gain a real understanding of the refugees who are striving to make England their home.

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2 comments:

  1. Ah, this must be such a hard and emotional journey. Some people have so much courage, determination and have to work so hard to find a place where they can feel safe. If you appreciated this one, I'd also recommend to you No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your recommendation :-)
      I've just put No Friend But The Mountains on my wishlist

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