From the pubs of Ireland last month to the mountains of Nepal, this month I read another first-person non-fiction book, this time about Nepal; which is definitely somewhere that’s on my bucket list. Little Princes is about an American volunteer’s experiences trying to reunite trafficked children with their parents; it’s heart-wrenchingly sad at times but fascinating and taught me a lot about a country I was pretty ignorant about.
Connor Grennan turned up at a Nepalese orphanage mostly to justify the frivolity of a round-the-world trip (by his own admission) but ended up caring deeply for the children he was looking after, who he was led to believe were orphans.
A chance encounter led to the discovery that one of the children in the orphanage was, in fact, not an orphan but a victim of child trafficking, too scared to tell the truth about his past. It emerged that many of the supposedly orphaned children in Kathmandu and beyond in fact still had living parents, and over a series of visits, by setting up his own non-profit, Connor set out to reunite them.
There’s more than a little bit of Americans-know-best and white-saviour-complex going on in Little Princes, but if you can take that for what it is, it’s an interesting read and a real eye-opener. The civil war that was fought very recently had barely registered on my radar at the time, but Little Princes explains who was fighting whom and why without getting bogged down in too much extraneous detail.
It’s also got some beautiful descriptions of some of the remote mountain villages in Nepal that the children were taken from, and from the complimentary picture that Connor paints of the Nepalese people, I think a trip will definitely have to be on the cards at some point in the future.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was almost in tears on the flight home from Marrakech when I was reading this book – so maybe don’t crack it open in public if you’re an emotional wreck like me!
What have you been reading recently? Do you have any suggestions for my books about places series?