Sea Prayer: A review
My rating: 10/10 (Yup. That’s right.)
Remember me? That guy who rambled praises about Khaled Hosseini’s books on & on, coz that’s not annoying or anything… right? And we readers love him, right?
Hey guys! I’m back with another book review; and this one is awash with my feelings of gratitude to the author for giving birth to such a masterpiece.
But here’s the funny part… this book has been on my TBR list since the September of last year and I’ve been shelving it because… you know… that dreadful realization that once you’ve finished this book, you won’t have any Khaled Hosseini material left to devour. Boy, that really tore me apart. But of course, I couldn’t keep this going on… I just had to be marveling at this book one day, touching it, wanting it, knowing that it had the power to turn me into an emotional wreck and finally… giving into temptation.
Before I start telling about my experience reading the book, let me notify you of how long I’ve been waiting to read a Khaled Hosseini book. Don’t get me wrong… I was on cloud nine when I heard that it was available in the market. And a picture book? Boy, did this sound too intriguing to resist. But, after waiting this long… I wanted something hefty to read, spending hours and days, delving into another stroke of genius. But this one was too short. I mean, real short.
It felt like seconds before I’d finally done it… finishing the novel I’d been planning to read all year… glorifying the scene when I’d read the last line… ready to plunge into a gorge of sadness and euphoria.
First… let’s walk through the plot, shall we?
Courtesy of Goodreads:
“A short, powerful, illustrated book written by Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone.
Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution, and he will donate author proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe. Hosseini is also a Goodwill Envoy to the UNHCR, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”
Let me explain my 10/10 rating. Why, you ask, did I do that? Ummm…. The simplest answer I can conceive is that this is literally one of those books that deserve nothing but 5-star reviews on Goodreads.
My thoughts on the book:
Firstly, the story is presented in more of a poetic (like, seriously, it’s a poem) sense. And again, it’s short. But SOOO moving! I mean how can someone manage to cram such raw emotions in such a few pages. The experience reading the book was gut-wrenching but heart-pounding too, because as I neared the end, I knew that I was slowly, gently being led to that gorge of sadness where I’d plummet down and the whole crying part of my reading journey would start. Yeah. It’s true. I cry when I read novels like these.
And the illustrations! God, they’re gorgeous! So captivating and breath-taking. They convey their own profound meaning. I guarantee you… however high the price might seem… it’s all worth it for what’s inside. Even if the read lasts for only a few minutes.
It’s almost excruciating to read through the pages, fearing that it’s gonna end on a tragic note, but still savoring every moment of the read. Khaled Hosseini’s tapestry of words is so impactful that it left such an afterglow that definitely made me think about the world from a different perspective; suffering.
The book (like all his other ones) bred such a kind of compassion and empathy inside me that I had to cry my eyes out. You know that kind of crying where it becomes difficult to breathe, even thought it’s a silent type of crying? You weep and weep for what seems like an eternity. And you want to drown in that sadness. You want it to inundate every fibre of your soul. To overpower all your senses. This sense of suffering and sadness is what connected me to families like these across the world who live lives so similar to these.
Immigration is a topic so expansive and delicate in a world like ours that representation becomes necessary. I’ve read and seen loads of them that do this… but what this book did…
How dare it shatter me like this?! Just when I think I’ve achieved another level of emotional reading experience… hah! And this book comes along.
Read it and you’ll find the compassion you need to care about all those people who go through this everyday of their lives.
Highly recommended. No, but seriously, spend some money.
Remember that I said that the book was short? Well, it’s not any less powerful, if that’s what you’re thinking.
I know that I’ve finished this book but is it possible for such a story to cease to exist inside my soul. It irrefutably left a mark on my soft spot and I don’t think I’ll ever heal. I don’t think I want to.