The Washington Post—

Like Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone,” on being a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, or Joseph Kim’s “Under the Same Sky,” on escaping North Korea, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” is at once terrifying and life-affirming. And like those memoirs, it painstakingly describes the human cost of war. Read more


"If you gave up and disintegrated inside, no one knew. I started telling people, I’m Clemantine, I’m Clemantine, I’m Clemantine!I don’t want to be lost. I’m Clemantine! I thought if I stated my name enough times, my identity would fall back into place. I wrote my name in the dirt. I wrote my name in the dust. But a name is a cover, a placeholder, not the whole story. A name is a basin with a leak that you need to constantly fill up. If you don’t, it drains and it’s just there, a husk, dry and empty." Read more

New York Times—

"Wamariya is piercing about her alienation in America and her effort to combat the perception that she is an exotic figure, to be pitied or dismissed ... Wamariya tells her own story with feeling, in vivid prose." Read more

David Brooks: "Clemantine’s story, as I knew it then, has a comforting arc: separation, perseverance, reunion and joy. It’s the kind of clean, inspiring story that many of us tell, in less dramatic form, about our own lives — with clearly marked moments of struggle and overcoming." Read more


"When Oprah reunited two young Rwandan sisters, Clemantine and Claire Wamariya, with their mother, I learned the meaning of her patented ugly cry. In no small part, Oprah’s show stoked my journalistic curiosity and nudged me toward my current career. She showed me the world was bigger than Long Island—even as she covered one of the biggest stories to rock my neighborhood: the Joey Buttafuoco–Amy Fisher scandal." Read more


"{Clemantine's] story could be packaged as the fairy tale of a young woman who overcame tragedy to beat the odds, yet she rejects this narrative entirely. The Girl Who Smiled Beads isn’t a story with a happy ending: it’s much more complex and interesting than that." Read more


As a child, Clemantine Wamariya survived the Rwandan genocide. Now, in a new memoir, she tries to mend the rest of us. Read more