A five year old girl named Emma hides behind the couch and listens helplessly as her mother is murdered. She survives by stifling her own screams and then hiding in bushes as she makes her way across war torn Rwanda, eventually being taken in by an old woman. Nine years pass and the war is long over, but Emma is still haunted by nightmares and cannot remember the past. It will take connecting with other survivors and learning to hope again for Emma to find her memory and start a new life.
Broken Memory takes place in Rwanda 9 years after the civil war in 1994. The novel does a great job of teaching about the conflict in a moving and interesting way. By focusing on one young girl and her perceptions it allows the reader to have a more direct involvement with this tragedy. The writing is very simple and stripped down which makes the descriptions of atrocities even more affecting, because they are described so naturally. This is an excellent story of one girl’s journey into hope and reaffirming life, but it also works as a symbol for Rwanda itself.