Horrible Truths

Orphan Girl by Indika Guruge has an arresting title and front cover. I assumed that the author was a non-western writer and looked forward to an account of life in orphanages and how children accommodated and changed as they grew up to an age when they would leave the orphanage. How would their experiences affect their post-orphanage life? How would they remember their experiences? This is not that book. This is a story of terrible tragedy, bravery, and an almost unbelievable tale of tolerance for pain and abuse. In the tradition of historical fiction, facts are presented which are indisputable. Fiction is created by the author as logical dialogue and character feelings are expressed that could not possibly be known by the author. Some dialogue might be backed up by interviews of friends, teachers, and substitute parents. Other dialogue must be created through author empathy. The author does an excellent job drawing the reader along a path leading to a terrible ending. I should have known better when I read the subtitle: “The story of an abandoned child’s tragic fate as a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. Inspired by a true story, In memory of Rizana Nafeek.” (loc 3-5).