by Elanora Smith
The book “Let’s Go Swimming On Doomsday” by Natalie C. Anderson is a captivating tale about a young Somali refugee forced to become a child soldier. Anderson is the author of another book set in an African country, and both have received praise for their great writing style and heart-wrenching story.
Abdi, the main character in the story, is consistently forced to do the unthinkable. His family is taken away from him and in order to get them back, he must become a spy for a terrorist group known as Al Shabaab, where his brother already serves. He tries to get through to his brother, but it seems as if he has been brainwashed like the rest of the boys.
Abdi becomes something of a monster himself, realizing that as a spy in Al Shabaab, he had killed many people and had helped contribute to their horrendous cause. He is horrified by his actions, but he knows he must keep going in order to help his family escape.
The book switches settings, from when he was a spy in Al Shabaab to when he is picked up from the streets of Sangui City, Kenya by a United Nations agent who tries to help him. This agent, named Sam, helps him and they form a lasting relationship throughout the book. Sam too is struggling with her past, and helping Abdi helps her as well. As Abdi struggles to accept his actions and form friendships, he wonders what has become of his family that he lost and eventually has to face his past to push for a brighter future.
Although some parts of this book were made up, it sheds light on the story of what people are going through in different nations. It is a tale of sacrifice and hope, unflinching bravery and courage. Anderson truly brings forth another riveting tale that will surely leave readers at the edge of their seats.