They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky is about a civil war in the continent of Africa. Thousands of children are sent on a nauseating journey through horrible hardships, where survival is the only thing on their minds. As the book progresses, you can feel yourself going on this journey alongside them, facing their troubles and their grievings.
Three boys who go by the names of, Benson, Alephonsion, and Benjamin are forced to go on this journey. They watch as their friends and family die. Worst part is, this is a true story. It all happened on a peaceful day, rumors about bombs destroying whole villages had been spreading around. These three boys had been going about their daily duties when suddenly, “…fire was poured on them from the sky.” Benson and Benjamin darted in different directions, unaware of each other’s safety. Alepho, however, managed to remain safe alongside his mother. Soon though, Alepho is forced to flee from his village, hiding underneath bushes until he manages to find a group of other boys like him. They all travel to different places in seek of shelter, food, and whereabouts of their family. This remains to be the main issue for most of the book, if you ignore all the deaths and casualties around them. This war lasted twenty-two years! That’s crazy! Going through starvation, dehydration, and illness while not knowing about their family’s safety. Terrible, I know. Anyhow, that’s enough of a summary. Let’s go over reviews. Silas will be making the first review, Kaiya the second.
Silas’s Review: This book is written well but the story is just murder and torture walking to different villages trying to find a home. If you love history and pain this is the book for you. If you are looking for depth and emotional value then go grab a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird and read that. The writer seems to not know the extent of how many horrible chapters the reader can take before having an existential crisis, wondering how people can be so terrible. They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky is not a pleasure read, if you ever dare to turn the pages be ready. This book is for those who have a iron stomach and those who have very low expectations of humans. To top it of, the ending of this book feels very rushed. All of the book you are made to think nowhere is safe but suddenly they reach this camp and everything is ok! The writer seemed to fast forward years in the amount of three pages, then there are twenty about one long walk. This proves the author focuses on torture.
Kaiya’s Review: This book was a trip! So much was happening at once, and at times, it was difficult to keep up! I can’t say that I enjoyed it, since there was so much gore and death, but I will say that it was well written. It put you in the boy’s perspectives. It’s not meant to be fun, sentimental, or enjoyable. It’s meant to show how much pain these boys went through. This is a real thing that has happened. Sure, maybe Benson, Benjamin, and Alephonsion is safe, but how about everyone else who died? Those who fell down and never came back up? You don’t finish this book satisfied, you finish it with grief, and disappointment. How could people kill over something so unimportant? Was it really so much of a big deal that thousands had to die? The ending may be short, and unsatisfying, but maybe that’s on purpose. Maybe it’s a lesson the author is trying to tell you, maybe it’s on purpose because they ran out of time. Nobody knows. Well, that’s my opinion. If you wish to read this, go ahead. Just be prepared for a long journey, and heartache. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s still about a terrible experience that many people had to go through. A true story, in fact. If you were to read it, instead of thinking that people are terrible, think of how you can better yourself. I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it’d be nice if you did. Thanks for listening to me ramble!
Well, that’s it! That’s our opinions on They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky. I hope this helps you decide on reading it or not! Remember, keep on reading!
They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky by Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Judy A. Bernstein. PublicAffairs Publishing, 2005. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!
Have you read this book? Or do you plan on reading it? Let us know in the comments below!