I chose “Ala’s Story” totally at random. I woke up, went “oh shoot, Mr. Sloan wanted us to have a nonfiction book today!,” and grabbed the only nonfiction book I could find. However, this choice ended up a happy accident, as the book is a really fun exploration of one woman’s remarkable life. This book isn’t my absolute favorite, but I like it for what it is, which is maybe not the most sophisticated piece of writing in the library but is a walk through the crazy interesting life of Ala, the author. We follow her through a tough childhood being shipped across 3 continents, separated from her father after the Russians took Poland in WWII, to her whirlwind life working in hospitality in Africa. This is quite the set of life experiences, and she’s picked up plenty of interesting anecdotes about the animals, the people, and what it was like to live in colonial Africa. Throughout the book, it’s clear that Ala isn’t the most sophisticated writer, nor the most experienced, but her connection to the material is clear. The impact that this life has had on her is obvious, and you can feel her emotions in the vulnerable parts of the story. An example of this is a passage where she writes, “By now I had fallen madly in love with Africa. I felt that I would never be able to leave. It was so totally different to any of the places from my childhood.” While the grammar is simple, its directness helps the raw emotion behind her writing to come out, and this is where the book really shines. For someone who needs to be intellectually challenged with their literature, this may not be the book for you, but if you come for the story, I’m sure you’ll love it.
“Ala’s Story” Book Review by Brody
October 26, 2021