All avid readers are oh so familiar with the ever-growing to-read list. But despite that, there is always a time where one hits a roadblock and is unsure what to read next. And we ask ourselves: “What book should I pick up next?” “What am I really in the mood for?” or “Is that book really going to be worth my while?” It’s either that, or you pick up about 3 books at a time and end up not completing any! Each story is just left hanging as you loose interest in one or mix up one story with another… now that can’t be good! So, remind me again, why was this character from a mystery novel riding on the back of a unicorn from another?
To solve this dilemma, I thought I’d ask some friends with a general facebook post and got several answers back. One friend recommended picking up “Little Princes” by Conor Grennan, which I mistook for “A Little Princess” (a very different read indeed). Anyway… I thought I would pick it up as it has been sitting on my to-read list for quite some time; such a long time that I had forgotten about it.
“Little Princes” is a non-fiction travel novel set in several locations in Nepal. Conor (the author) begins his journey around the world with a plan to stop by Nepal for 3 months to volunteer at an orphanage by the name: Little Princes. The thing is, he does not do this out of the kindness of his heart or his selfless nature. He does this as a way to justify his yearlong trip around the world to his friends and family. It is basically a way to bring attention to himself as a humanitarian (which he clearly is not at that point) and plans to use this experience as a line to bring attention to himself at a later date, be it his family’s attention or that of a girl at a bar. He basically volunteers for all the wrong reasons.
This already sounds as though the journey is not off to a great start. However, being allowed to read about the extreme change in attitude to the better as this journey unfolds is one of the many beautiful events within the story. A three month voluntour trip ends up becoming a mission that begins with a 3 year long commitment to the children of a foreign land based on a very simple promise that Conor had made: to take the children home. It turns out that the orphanage is not a safe house for orphans but a shelter for formerly trafficked children of extremely remote regions of Nepal. This promise and the resilience of the children leads to the founding of yet another organization called Next Generation Nepal founded by Conor Grennan to fulfill this promise to as many Nepalese children as he possibly can.
As difficult as the subject matter of this story is I was surprised to find it jam packed with humour! That was probably why it was quite an easy read as the tellings of tragic circumstances of helpless children were juxtaposed with sarcasm and self-mocking comedy on the authors part. Interlaced with this journey is a story of self-reflection and spiritual growth… and of course, love. It is a story that is told the way it is. I truly feel the story gushing with honesty. Intertwined with this honesty is raw description of the sights, smells and sounds of Nepal giving the novel a flavour of the setting itself.
In the author’s own words:
It is always hard to read of the reality of what people (especially children) are forced to endure and is easier to push this reality aside thanking of it while remaining disconnected from the goings on of other places as though it were happening in some other time on some other planet. Connor chose to wake up and do otherwise. He chose to dive into the uncomfortable and unjust and make things right. I have so much respect for those who are able to fight for others who are not given a voice. This book was truly a great read and one I would highly recommend.
To learn more about Next Generation Nepal and/or donate to the cause please visit: Next Generation Nepal