Book Review: Butterfly by Yusra Mardini

 My book review of Butterfly by Yusra Mardini.

Title: Butterfly

By: Yusra Mardini

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 288

Release Date: May 3rd, 2018

Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary 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.


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There is something about incredible true stories that come from a place of pain, but end in triumph. Although how much of this book is embellished, I wouldn't even try to say, but the journey that is told in this book, will stick with me forever.

People are capable of great things when the world seems to come crashing down. Yusra Mardini watched her future crumble as war breaks out all around her. What comes next is a powerful journey that will shape her future and that of her families.

In the part of the book where Yusra helps to keep their escape boat afloat by slipping into the frigid waters along with her sister Sara, made my heart beat faster. I was sure something was going to happen to Yusra or Sara. Something tragic. This felt like the turning point to me.

Favorite Quote:
“Refugee. An empty shell, barely even human. No money, no home, no background, no history, no personality, no ambition, no path, no passion. Our past, present, future. All of it deleted and replaced by that one devastating word.”

I gave this book 4 our of 5 stars. Yusra used her fame to help her achieve her swimming goals, but in the end found a new calling. She became the voice of refugees across the world. Turning a dirty word into hope for so many people. She truly is an inspiration.

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