The Blonde Bookworm: Don't Tell Me You're Afraid by Giuseppe Catozella -- Review

Don't Tell Me You're Afraid by Giuseppe Catozella -- Review

Monday, August 1, 2016

Title: Don't Tell Me You're Afraid 
Author: Giuseppe Catozzella 
Pages: 256
ISBN: 1594206414
Publisher: August 2nd 2016 by Penguin Press 


Based on a remarkable true story, an unforgettable Somali girl risks her life on the migrant journey to Europe to run in the Olympic Games.

At eight years of age, Samia lives to run. She shares her dream with her best friend and neighbor, Ali, who appoints himself her "professional coach." Eight-year-old Ali trains her, times her, and pushes her to achieve her goals. For both children, Samia's running is the bright spot in their tumultuous life in Somalia. She is talented, brave, and determined to represent her country in the Olympic Games, just like her hero, the great Somali runner Mo Farah.

For the next several years, Samia and Ali train at night in a deserted stadium as war rages and political tensions continue to escalate. Despite the lack of resources, despite the war, and despite all of the restrictions imposed on Somali women, Samia becomes a world-class runner. As a teenager, she is selected to represent her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She finishes last in her heat at the Games, but the sight of the small, skinny woman in modest clothes running in the dust of athletes like Veronica Campbell-Brown brings the Olympic stadium to its feet.

Samia sets her sights on the 2012 Games in London. Conditions in Somalia have worsened, and she must make the arduous migrant journey across Africa and the Mediterranean alone. Just like millions of refugees, Samia risks her life for the hope of a better future.

Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid is the unforgettable story of a courageous young woman, and it is also a remarkable window onto a global crisis.


Samia's story is one that I will not soon forget. I love watching the Summer Olympics and especially love seeing all of the athletes from all over the world. We often just think of the Olympics as a big competition and don't think of all of the work that it takes to get to the games. We don't think about what the athletes have sacrificed or what they have gone through to get to that point. 

Samia's story takes the reader through the real life events that she experienced leading up to her migrant journey. It is a touching story that makes the reader reflect on their own life. I for one am so incredibly thankful to live in a country where not only am I free, but as a woman, I also have rights to be exactly who I want to be and do exactly what I want to do with my life. Samia did not have those luxuries, but she still pushed for what she wanted in life and attempted to stand up for other women in Somalia. 

It is a sad story with loss and love, but it is one that I would strongly recommend to my friends and family. It is especially meaningful at this time of the year because the 2016 Summer Olympics are about to kick off. I know I will look at all of the athletes differently after reading this book. I look forward to watching the opening ceremonies and will be thinking about each individual athlete and what they have sacrificed. Samia will be on my mind and I will be constantly thinking of the women in Somalia that she fought to stand up for. Please go pick it up this summer! 

Rating 4.5/5


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