One of Us: The Story of a Massacre and its Aftermath

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Favourite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. It’s coming up to that time of year where we reflect on what we’ve read and decide which books have been our favourites. Now there is a couple of weeks left of 2017 so something could sneak in here but here’s how it stands at the moment.

In no particular order, here are my ten favourite books of 2017 – links go to my review.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This book is a great feminist read. I sped though this book because I related to the characters so much and as I read I’d get this pain in my chest because it felt so real and was equal parts inspiring and frustrating.

Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite
This book surprised me by how much I loved it. It’s a family drama with a compelling mother/daughter relationship at its heart and it’s such a nice read. I know “nice” isn’t really seen as a positive word but that’s what it is, there’s no major drama or sudden plot twists, it’s just a comforting read.

Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Boys are Back in Town by David Walker, Sanford Greene and Flaviano
This was such a fun comic! The art style is really cool and vibrant, and I loved the relationship between Danny and Luke. If you like the Marvel Netflix shows featuring these two, then I’d definitely recommend this comic. (more…)

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READ THE WORLD: Norway – One of Us: The Story of a Massacre and its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad

On 22 July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 of his fellow Norwegians in a terrorist attack that shocked the world. Many of his victims were teenagers. Following this atrocity, questions began to appear; how and why could this happen? And who was Anders Breivik? One of Us does it’s best to answer these questions and more with extensive witness testimonies and interviews.

One of Us is a very tough read, but it’s a compelling and emotional one too. The book follows Breivik’s life, from growing up with his single mother and half-sister, to being an adult where his grand plans don’t always work out for him. This way you get an insight into his mind. It is often unsettling as you begin to almost understand why he is the way he is, but it’s still difficult to comprehend how someone can have such a hatred for those with differing political views, religion, and social ideals.

Something that I wasn’t expecting was the book to follow a few of Breivik’s young victims; Bano Rashid, Simon Sæbø, Anders Kristiansen and Viljar Hanssen. By following these teenagers from childhood, Rashid and Sæbø especially, you get to see how their lives and beliefs are the complete opposite to Breivik’s, it makes some uncomfortable and upsetting reading sometimes as all these young people had bright futures in front of them.

One of Us is made from Breivik’s own accounts that he published online, as well as interviews from friends, family and any officials that came into contact with Breivik at any point in his life. This gives you a comprehensive picture of Breivik’s mind when he set out to attack the government quarter of Oslo and the AUF-run summer camp on the island of Utøya.

There’s a sense of foreboding as time passes and the account gets closer to the day of the attack. The way the attack is described is both distressing and gripping. It’s a proper page-turner and you need a breather afterwards because of the tension and how graphic the violence is, though there’s an air of distance that allows you some breathing space, however small. There’s also a feeling of frustration as you learn about how the emergency and security services reacted on the day and the failings they had, you get the sense that there could have been less casualties if there’d been better communication between the various services.

One of Us not only covers the lead up to the attacks and that day, but the subsequent trial and how families of those who died and the survivors are, or aren’t, coping with what happened. It allows for a feeling of closure, even if those grieving may never get it themselves. One of Us is an emotional rollercoaster that offers an insight to an event and all those involved that I knew very little about. It’s a tough read but I feel it’s an important one.