Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review - Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph by Yusra Mardini

Title: Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph
Author: Yusra Mardini
Pages: 274
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 15 May 2018

Blurb from Goodreads: 

The inspiring story of how one woman saved fellow refugees from drowning—and how she went on to become an Olympic swimmer.

When young Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini realized her boat's engine shut down as she was traveling from Syria to Greece with other refugees, there was no hesitation: she dove into the water. Surfacing, she heard desperate prayers and sobbing from the passengers in the sinking boat above her. Between the waves, her elder sister Sarah screamed at her to get back on the boat. But Mardini was determined. She was not going to let Sarah do this alone. Grabbing the rope with one hand, she began kicking up the black water, inching the boat towards the distant shore.

This bold act of bravery saved the lives of a boatload of refugees heading to Turkey from Syria. After her arrival in Greece, Mardini, focused and undeterred, worked toward a lifelong goal: to compete in the Olympics. She succeeded, and competed in 2016 on the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro. 

Butterfly tells her story, from Syria to the Olympics to her current work with the UN as a Goodwill Ambassador. Mardini is eager to tell her story in the hopes that readers will remember that refugees are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, chased from their homes by a devastating war. In today's political climate, this story is guaranteed to inspire and educate readers from every background.

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley*

Butterfly tells the true story of Yusra Mardini and her journey from war-torn Syria to Germany.
A swimmer, Yusra dreamed of going to the Olympics. Her dream came true, but she endured a lot to get there.

I feel bad for not giving this a higher rating but I really struggled with the writing style.
As this is a biography, I didn't expect it to be told in first person, which made it feel as if I was beside Yusra on her journey (which was not necessarily a bad thing). I had gone into Butterfly thinking that it would be Yusra recounting her story.
There were a several words that were repeated numerous times. The word 'grin' in particular. However, given that English isn't the author's native language, it's understandable that words might be repeated.
There were a few occasions where I found myself losing interest because I couldn't get into the writing style. It was a bit like a list of actions at times.
Yusra's story is an inspiring and amazing one. She was very lucky in many respects but she's also been through a lot for someone so young.
I felt sorry for Sara who was overshadowed by Yusra, her younger sister.
Now that I know Yusra's story I will definitely keep an eye out for her at the next Olympics.

Overall this was an inspiring read but unfortunately I struggled with the writing.


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