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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Bodies That Move by Bunye Ngene is a riveting novel about what it means to immigrate to another country for safety, security, and a chance at a better life. The main character Nosa has had a hard life growing up. Responsible for his mother and siblings after being deserted by his father, he realizes he needs and wants more than Nigeria, and so sets out for Europe, using smugglers to help him on his journey. He is determined to do whatever it takes, braving the Mediterranean Sea in a small dinghy. Stranded there, he thinks back on his life and the events that led him to this point. He endured a gauntlet of detention camps, safe houses, and transit cities in Nigeria, Niger, and battle-scarred Libya--even the Sahara Desert. He meets other travelers on the way, with their own stories to tell. The one thing they have in common is their driving need to get somewhere else.
Ngene has created a much underreported, misunderstood account of what it means to leave your home country in search of a better life elsewhere. It isn't easy to leave the familiar, but Nosa feels he has no other choice or chance than to risk danger and death. Nosa and others endure heartbreaking physical and psychological hardships that would break most people. As you read, you can't imagine how hard it would be to live like this on a daily basis, yet this book shows that perseverance can be an amazing thing and a lifeline. It offers a personal perspective on the subject of immigration but works as a great novel that holds your attention until the end. As for Ngene's writing style, it's smooth, descriptive, and well-paced. You will instantly find yourself in his shoes, and even though hard, you'll be glad you took the journey with him. The Bodies That Move by Bunye Ngene tells a unique story of survival and dreams.