What is the What Book Summary, Ending, Quotes & Review 2024

What is the What Book Summary, Ending, Quotes & Review 2024
Julia Scheeres
Julia Scheeres She/Her - Journalist/Book Author/Cat Mom May 01, 2024

What Is The What is about the extraordinary life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee who fled his village during the brutal civil war. The story follows his harrowing journey through various African countries and eventually to the United States. It explores themes of survival, resilience, and the search for home amidst the backdrop of conflict and displacement.

What Is The What Book Summary

The story of What Is The What opens with Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee from Sudan, reflecting on his life as he waits in his apartment in Atlanta.

He recalls his idyllic childhood in the village of Marial Bai, before the outbreak of the Sudanese civil war. The war forces Valentino and thousands of other 'lost boys' to flee their homes.

He embarks on a treacherous journey, facing hunger, thirst, and attacks by wild animals and armed rebel groups. Throughout, he clings to the memories of his family and home.

Valentino and his friend William K. traverse through various African countries, seeking safety and a chance for a better life. They encounter both kindness and cruelty from strangers.

In Kenya, Valentino faces the challenges of living in the Kakuma refugee camp. He forms deep connections with fellow refugees but also experiences betrayal and exploitation.

With the help of a dedicated social worker, Valentino is given the opportunity to move to the United States. Despite the initial culture shock, he begins to build a new life in Atlanta.

He grapples with the complexities of American society, including loneliness and a longing for his lost homeland. Valentino becomes an advocate for refugees and strives to make a difference in his community.

Valentino's search for belonging leads him to reconnect with his past, his family, and his culture. He confronts the trauma he endured and seeks healing and reconciliation.

Returning to the village of Marial Bai, he discovers the devastating effects of the war on his community and the loss of those he once knew.

Valentino's journey is one of resilience and hope. He embodies the strength of the human spirit in his quest for a place to call home, a future filled with promise and peace.

His story is a reminder of the millions of displaced people worldwide, each with their own tale of survival and the universal desire for dignity and safety.

What Is The What is a poignant narrative that blends fact and fiction to give a voice to those whose stories often go unheard. Through Valentino's eyes, readers are given a powerful testament to the endurance of the human soul.

What Is The What Quotes

  1. I am alive. I can fight. I am alive. I can fight.I am alive. I can fight. I am alive. I can fight.
  2. It is not easy to forget, but if you can forget, then do so.It is not easy to forget, but if you can forget, then do so.

What Is The What Ending Explained

At the end of What Is The What, Valentino Achak Deng has come full circle. He has found a degree of peace and closure, but his journey continues.

Valentino reunites with his family in Africa and is able to provide them with some support and comfort. He learns that home is not just a place but also the people you love.

His work as a spokesperson for refugees reflects his commitment to ensuring that the suffering he and others endured is not forgotten, and that there is hope for a better future for all displaced people.

Characters in book What Is The What

  • Valentino Achak Deng: The protagonist and narrator, a Dinka boy who becomes a 'lost boy' after fleeing his village during the Sudanese civil war.
  • William K: Valentino's best friend and companion during his treacherous journey as a refugee.
  • Tabitha: Valentino's beloved aunt who raises him and instills in him a sense of hope and determination.
  • Uncle Johnson: A wise and influential figure in Valentino's life who teaches him valuable lessons about perseverance and faith.
  • Marial: Valentino's cousin and another 'lost boy' who travels with him and William.
  • Emma McCune: A British aid worker who becomes a mother figure to Valentino and helps him gain an education in Kenya.
  • The Maras: A family in Kenya who takes advantage of Valentino and other refugees, exploiting them for labor.
  • Yao: A fellow refugee with whom Valentino forms a close friendship while living in Kakuma refugee camp.
  • Michael and Duke: Two Americans who befriend Valentino and help him resettle in the United States.
  • Achak: Valentino's younger brother whom he searches for after they are separated during the war.

Key Lessons

  • Resilience Endures: In the face of overwhelming adversity, the ability to endure and overcome hardship is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
  • Empathy Heals: Compassion and understanding are powerful tools that can bring healing, not only to others but also to oneself.
  • Hope Sustains: Maintaining hope in the darkest of times can provide the light needed to persevere and move forward.
  • Education Liberates: Knowledge and learning have the power to break the chains of ignorance and open doors to new opportunities.
  • Home Is More Than a Place: The concept of 'home' extends beyond a physical location and is deeply tied to the people and communities that provide comfort and belonging.

My Personal Opinion

Is What Is The What worth reading? Yes, I found it to be a deeply moving and enlightening book. Valentino Achak Deng's story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

I was deeply drawn into Valentino's narrative, and his journey opened my eyes to the plight of refugees in a way that statistics and news reports never could. However, the story's non-linear structure occasionally made it challenging to follow, and the frequent shifts in time and place could be disorienting.

What Is The What is a book that everyone should read. It offers a powerful perspective on the global refugee crisis and inspires a sense of empathy and understanding. I would recommend it to readers who are looking for a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that sheds light on the human experience.