My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads: Just down the road from their families, Deo and his friends play soccer in the dusty fields of Zimbabwe, cheered on by Deo's older brother, Innocent. It is a day like any other . . . until the soldiers arrive and Deo and Innocent are forced to run for their lives, fleeing the wreckage of their village for the distant promise of safe haven. Along the way, they face the prejudice and poverty that await refugees everywhere, and must rely on the kindness of people they meet to make it through. But when tragedy strikes, Deo's love of soccer is all he has left. Can he use that gift to find hope once more?
Relevant, timely, and accessibly written, Now Is the Time For Running is a staggering story of survival that follows Deo and his mentally handicapped older brother on a transformative journey that will stick with readers long after the last page.
My take: From Apartheid to political differences and diamonds, the citizens of African countries struggle to survive every day. Although a work of fiction, Deo's story is based on a culmination of true events and people. Tragically heart breaking and pain stakingly healing, Deo's many losses and sacrifices lead him to a place of oblivion until a soccer ball unites the African continent.
Deo's journey begins in his little village while he plays a game of soccer, using the ball his grandfather made for him. When the soldiers arrive, violence erupts and hunger and thirst. Deo's journey leads him toward the South African border, where to cross, he must survive walking through a crocodile infested river, a robber filled border, then miles of a wild animal preserve.
I can not tell any of this story without giving spoilers but the book is based on true stories collected from people who made the journey. The author then continues with the poverty and despair of South Africa and the abuse the immigrants suffer. This is an excellent book but very difficult to digest.