A Girl Named Disaster

by Nancy Farmer

Paperback, 1998

Status

Available

Local notes

PB Far

Publication

Puffin (1998), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages

Description

While fleeing from Mozambique to Zimbabwe to escape an unwanted marriage, Nhamo, an eleven-year-old Shona girl, struggles to escape drowning and starvation and in so doing comes close to the luminous world of the African spirits.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1996

Physical description

320 p.; 5.06 inches

ISBN

0140386351 / 9780140386356

Barcode

872

User reviews

LibraryThing member catz
This book took me into the depths of Namo's story and mind. It really took me in. Nancy Farmer's books just do that to me but I like it.
LibraryThing member KGVLibrary
While journeying to Zimbabwe from Mozambique, eleven-year-old Nhamo struggles to escape drowning and starvation and in so doing comes close to the luminous world of the African spirits.
LibraryThing member 4sarad
While this book was very interesting at times, and though I feel as though I learned a great deal, I really don't think this book was written in a way that would hold my students' interest. It starts very slow and it wasn't until halfway through or more that I really became interested in the story. It's sad, but this is a good book that I doubt I'll ever recommend to anyone.… (more)
LibraryThing member tspeavy
While journeying to Zimbabwe, eleven-year-old Nhamo struggles to escape drowning and starvation and in so doing comes close to the luminous world of the African spirits. 4th grade
LibraryThing member Omrythea
Nhamo's journey is inspiring and heart-wrenching. This book is kind of like a gentler version of Clan on the Cave Bear. Nancy Farmer is an excellent writer.
LibraryThing member stargirl
I can't find the others in the series!
Where are they?
LibraryThing member mysteena
Nhambo is a young African girl who lives in a primitive village in the early 1980's. The book follows her journey, both a geographical journey as well her journey from childhood into womanhood. This book is a YA book, probably best for ages 12-14. I particularly liked the abundance of African folk tales and the deep look into Nhambo's pagan beliefs. It's a well written book and quite enjoyable.… (more)
LibraryThing member mysteena
Nhambo is a young African girl who lives in a primitive village in the early 1980's. The book follows her journey, both a geographical journey as well her journey from childhood into womanhood. This book is a YA book, probably best for ages 12-14. I particularly liked the abundance of African folk tales and the deep look into Nhambo's pagan beliefs. It's a well written book and quite enjoyable.… (more)
LibraryThing member Rebecca.
This book draws you into the story of Nhamo, a girl who is mistreated by her own family. She runs away after her family arrange a marriage for her to a man many years older than she is. Nancy Farmer explores the culture of Africa, and uses African beliefs and way of life to illustrate the story.
LibraryThing member sapphire--stars
I remember REALLY liking this...read it a few times. So I'll have to revisit it.
LibraryThing member alexann
Finally getting around to reading this classic by Nancy Farmer. I was eager because Nancy is such a wonderful writer, and her knowledge of Africa and its customs is extensive. Plus, this book won just about every award there is! Although Nhamo is a sympathetic Cinderella-like character her story just didn't pull me in. It moved rather slowly, and the African mythology woven throughout did not increase my appreciation. Even though, I still want to read The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, which several readers have said they enjoyed more than this title (which, by the way, is probably why I've wanted to read "A Girl..." ever since it was published. What a great title!) I noticed a recommendation for readers who liked this of Island of the Blue Dolphin. That one I read as a girl when it was first published, and I never cared for it, either!… (more)
LibraryThing member electrascaife
Nhamo's mother was killed by a leopard when Nhamo was just a baby and her father left her village to return to his own family in Zimbabwe, leaving Nhamo to be raised by her grandmother and a hateful aunt. Most of the heavy daily chores are piled on her, and when cholera invades the village, a witch doctor blames her father, who killed another man before he fled, for the vengeful spirit he claims has brought the sickness to them. Nhamo is condemned to be the wife of the murdered man's brother's, which is tantamount to a life of beatings and early death. So, her grandmother helps her to run away in search of her father's family. What follows is an account of her survival for months on her own in the wild before she finally makes it to Zimbabwe and a new life.

An excellent adventure story; think Cinderella meets Island of the Blue Dolphins, with a dash of African folklore and a heroine you'll be rooting for from the first page. Definitely recommended.
… (more)
LibraryThing member fingerpost
This is a coming of age story set in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The reader must accept the tribal beliefs of Nhamo and her family as realities, not as superstitions. Throughout the book she really does communicate with assorted spirits in two-way conversations.
The book has three distinct parts. In the first, we meet Nhamo and her family in a remote tribe in Mozambique. She is a young girl shunned by some because her father left the family and her mother died young. Her grandmother and one cousin seem to be the only ones in the village who truly love her. After a plague of cholera kills several in the community, the family consults with a witch doctor, who tells them the cholera came because of Nhamo's father's actions, and to appease the spirits, the girl had to be married off to an old man who already had several wives. Grandmother tells Nhamo that she must run away. It is the only way she can survive. She must run away to Zimbabwe to seek her father's family.
The second part is pure survival tale. Nhamo sets off in a tiny boat, with minimal supplies, to row to Zimbabwe. Her trip takes far longer than she anticipated, including a stop for many months on a large island in an enormous lake. (For me, this portion of the book dragged on much too long. I could only maintain interest in how she got food, protected herself, got lonely, etc. for so long, and it stretched way beyond my own capacity to appreciate it.)
In the concluding third part, Nhamo finds her way to a tiny scientific community in Zimbabwe, which takes her in. In time, they have to seek out her real family... her father's relatives in Zimbabwe.
As for myself, I enjoyed the first part and the last part of the book, but would have enjoyed it overall significantly more if the interminably long survival section in the middle had been about 100 pages shorter.
… (more)
LibraryThing member LynnB
This is a coming of age story of a young girl, Nhamo, whose name means "Disaster". The story takes the form of a quest; Nhamo flees her village to escape an arranged marriage to an evil man. She is searching for her birth father who she hopes will accept her as part of his family.

The book is well-written and seems to be well researched in African mythology and beliefs. Nhamo relates several stories that convey these teachings. She spends a lot of time alone on her quest, and these stories break up the narrative which might otherwise have become tedious. The ending, often the downfall of this kind of story, works well. It is believable, and the voices of Nhamo and her ancenstors remain strong and true.… (more)

Pages

320

Rating

(165 ratings; 3.7)
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