Jul 24, 2008
NON-FICTION BOOK REVIEW # 2
“She is Ana, and this is her story. It begins the day she is born infected with HIV, transmitted from her young mother. Now she barely remembers her mamά, who died when Ana was only three. From then on, Ana’s childhood becomes a blur of faint memories and secrets—secrets about her illness and about the abuse she endures.”
Although this is Ana’s story, it could be anybody’s story who struggles with a debilitating illness that carries the added burden of shame. Society doesn’t always treat people with serious, life-threatening illnesses with care—many times those patients are shunned and become isolated as their illness progresses.
Ana’s Story, A Journey of Hope, written by Jenna Bush and based on her work with UNICEF, clearly documents what it’s like for a child to live with a secret that, if exposed outside her immediate family, would isolate her from friends, classmates and even some members of her extended family. This is also the story of a girl who struggles to break free of her environment of abuse, neglect, poverty and illness.
Ana’s Story, aimed at an audience of young adults, will educate those young people as well as people of all ages who pick up the book and read it. The book consists of very short chapters that don’t always fill an entire page, larger-than-average sharp black text on crisp white pages, and attractive, colorful photographs. This book can be read to the end very quickly, but don’t let that fool you—Ana’s Story packs a powerful punch. This is one story that will stay with you long after you put the book down.