Top positive review
An indomitable spirit, flight & refuge from a
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2021
terrible war and LOTS of basketball are the highlights of “Sooley”, by John Grisham.
Samuel Sooleyman, is a 17 year old S. Sudanese basketball player who was chosen for an international travel team heading to the U. S. A. He’s got some skills but is far from NBA ready. The scout/coach has a hunch about him...
Early in the tournament, Sooley’s home town is invaded and destroyed by rebels. His family runs for their lives, not all successfully. After this event, the story splits between Sooley and his family in an Ugandan refugee camp. The transitions are easy as is most of the reading for this book.
In typical Grisham style, there are lots of short chapters; 62 of them. The characters are fully fleshed out and we get to feel and ponder along with them. For those who love basketball, you’ll be in a tiny bit of heaven. If you’re not so enamored, skim away or slog thru; it’s not overly technical. Regardless of your status, the game scenes are exciting!
There’s much more to this story than basketball. For me, I was struck by the loss of home for Sooley. It was compounded by his loss of family and over riding need to help them, in anyway possible. He had nothing, received a blessing, worked tirelessly, made progress and thru it all kept his family and faith in focus. He’s an inspiring character.
Parts of the story dragged and were too drawn out. The early college days were repetitive and the few plot points needed from those pages could have been used more succinctly and saved 30-40 pages, IMO. The remainder is the human interest side of Grisham who gives us a non-partisan look at an immigration story.
There a few soft expletives and violence associated with the war in Sudan. It’s not graphic but it is violent. Included in this section are suggestions of sexual assault and rape, murder of family members and children. Scenes at the refuge camp include starvation, dehydration, human waste, stealing and vanished people.
Not only entertaining, “Sooley” is a thinker. A novel that could easily be a contemporary biography and it’s well worth the time to invest in its pages📚