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"A Thousand Flying Things" by Kathryn Brown Ramsperger is the compelling journey of Dianna Calloway, an American humanitarian worker, as she embarks on an incredible adventure. This novel delves into the complex relationship between Dianna, a white Christian woman, and Qasim, a Lebanese Muslim man, against the backdrop of war, politics, and the struggles an American Christian woman faces in a foreign land. Ramsperger's writing style is reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver's. She expertly interweaves real-life events into a captivating narrative that showcases a resilient and empowering female protagonist.

Ramsperger described Dianna Calloway as an "ungentrified woman from the poverty-pocked American South." She moved around a lot when she was a child because her father was in the service. Now, she was serving humanity differently than her father – she had left the States and taken on a job in war-torn 1991 Southern Sudan, a country that has experienced conflict, usually civil war, since the late 1950s. Her goal in Sudan was to make some positive change in the lives of the Sudanese. She quickly realized the futility of her work but hoped she could save some children. She was teaching very young boys who were also being trained to be soldiers for the tribal leader Biel, who has no qualms about using child soldiers in his quest for power. This deeply saddens Dianna, and she hopes she can save a few of the very young boys from becoming cannon fodder. She becomes attached to a very young boy named Khalil, who is around 7 or 8 years old and is already being taught how to be a soldier.

Dianna's life takes a tumultuous turn when she unexpectedly encounters her long-lost love, Qasim. He is a worldly Lebanese Muslim from a political family. She doubts that Qasim has ever mentioned her to his family and fears they would reject her if he did. Now, she finds herself at a crossroads - torn between her dream of saving a very young boy from being a child soldier or rekindling a deep connection with the man who still holds a special place in her heart. In this critical moment, Dianna faces the most challenging decision she has ever had to make. But even more turmoil is added to her situation; her mother becomes very ill, and she returns to the States, back to North Carolina.

Throughout Ramsperger's novel, she subtly weaves the tragic events that shaped our world. It is a love story and a subtle history primer of events that happened during the years covered by the book. And it is an accurate picture of the strife and hopelessness of the child soldiers. Her book is a timely contribution of psychological insight about child soldiers. She links the need to protect children in conflict to the foundation of peaceful societies...The discussion on the difficulty of separating victims from perpetrators underlines Ramsperger's subtle point that child soldiers result from adult exploitation of children.

"A Thousand Flying Things" is captivating; it not only entertains but also sheds light on the haunting reality of children forced into the horrors of being child soldiers. It sheds light on the dark world of these young individuals, who are trained to become cold-blooded killers without empathy for their victims. This eye-opening story will leave you questioning and reflecting long after you've turned the last page. And if you doubt any of the historical events mentioned in the novel, Ramsperger includes a whole section of references at the end of her book. 

Reviewed by: David J.

About Kathryn Brown Ramsperger


The author of A THOUSAND FLYING THINGS, Kathryn Brown Ramsperger began her career as a journalist in Virginia and Washington, DC. As a researcher and writer for National Geographic, and later as a humanitarian journalist, her work took her throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to help people facing disaster, famine, and war. This novel combines the stories she witnessed with her imagination, creating a riveting, poignant novel. All Kathryn's work focuses on peace and the connections all people share. This is her second published novel. She and her husband now live in Maryland. Together they have two adult children. They continue to travel as much as they can. Kathryn is also an intuitive creativity coach, a reviewer, and a workshop facilitator at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD.

Visit https://kathrynbrownramsperger.com for more information on Kathryn Brown Ramsperger


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