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Johnny mad dog
Emmanuel Boundzeki Dongala
Adult Fiction DONGALA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Two teenagers are caught up in the melee as rival ethnic factions turn their Congolese city into a bloody battleground in this harrowing novel by Dongala (Little Boys Come from the Stars, etc.). LaokolE, a bright girl of 16 who dreams of one day becoming an engineer, flees home ahead of the marauding militias. With her younger brother and legless mother (whom she pushes in a wheelbarrow), she struggles not only to stay alive but to sustain her hopes for the future. Alternate chapters give readers the boastful voice of 15-year-old Johnny Mad Dog, a member of the Death Dealers militia, as he patrols the city with his Uzi, looting, raping and killing, eager to prove himself a man. Dongala, a native of the Congo Republic (formerly French Congo), offers an unflinching look at the greed and ignorance that drives fighters like Mad Dog, as well as the fear, desperation and anger of those trapped in the cross fire. Despite occasional wooden dialogue and the rather stagey showdown between the two narrators, Dongala frames some powerful questions: namely, how humans can be so cruel, and conversely, how do they maintain their humanity in the face of unremitting ugliness? As Mad Dog himself half-marvels, half-laments, even if we looted them a thousand times, they would always manage to hang onto something. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Taking place during a West African civil war, this powerful novel by Dongala (Little Boys Come from the Stars) centers on two members of rival ethnic groups caught up in the chaos. Johnny Mad Dog is the teenage commander of a small militia unit gorging itself on killing and looting. Laokole, a 16-year-old who dreams of becoming an architect, has been her family's caretaker since a previous conflict left her father dead and mother crippled. Forced from their home by looting, Laokol? and her remaining family join hoards of refugees, going first to the UN compound and then to a jungle village. Finally, with her mother dead and brother vanished, Laokol? ends up in a refugee camp. Here, her life intersects fatefully with that of Johnny Mad Dog. Dongala is sharply critical of the hypocrisy of those from different ethnic groups who slaughter one another for personal gain yet pose as freedom fighters to the Western powers, which in turn protect their own citizens while ignoring the carnage. Hope hangs by a tenuous thread in this violent yet compelling tale. Recommended for all collections.-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Johnny Mad Dog
Age: Teenager
In charge of a militia unit intent on killing and looting.

Age: 16
Dreams of becoming an architect; becomes a refugee.

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