A review by zarlyn
What Is the What, by Dave Eggers

adventurous challenging emotional hopeful informative inspiring sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


Run bulletproof,run.
 This line from Run BTS pretty much sums up Valentino Achak Deng's journey as one of the the Lost Boys of Sudan. In this book co-written by Dave Eggers, Achak chronicled his early life in the war zone of his own country and his journey to safety in the United States. 
 The narrative shifts between his time as a Lost boy and his Uni days in Atlanta.

One at a time. This is how I read this book. It took me more than a month to finish it, mostly reading it on my restdays and a few hours before I sleep. I thought I wouldn't be able to handle it since I know right off the bat that I'll be dealing with heavy and serious matters in this book.But with the art of slow-reading, I was able to survive all the adversaries and hardships Achak has gone through,one chapter at a time.

My heart ached for Achak. For the lost boys and the lost girls of Sudan. They kept on walking and running towards an unknown place,unknown future. My heart ached for the times they thought that they don't deserve the help of other people,that they blame themselves for someone becoming a hero for them.

 My heart ached for the times that even when Achak was finally on the safe zone of America,he still does not know exactly what is the What.
 I tried looking up Achak online to see how he was doing in the present, 16 years after he told his story to the world. And I guess he already knows the answer to the What.

 Gone far, you've gone really far. 


Expand filter menu Content Warnings