2012 What is the What (Dave Eggers)

When the 2012 Honors Read was chosen, it was intended to have human or cultural significance; contain new perspectives; provoke discussions and questions; appeal to students of all backgrounds; be intellectually challenging; and be engaging and well-written. What is the What offers all this and more.

Excerpts from the letter of transmittal written by the students who chose the text:

What is the What is the odyssey of Valentino Achak Deng, a Lost Boy from Sudan. Due to political upheaval and genocide, Achak is forced from his home at a young age and begins a grueling trek that takes him through Sudan, Ethopia, and Kenya. He eventually arrives in the United States, where he connects with Dave Eggers.

One of the book’s greatest challenges is untangling the threads of truth. Achak is a real person and his story is real. Due to language barriers, Achak narrated his life to Eggers, who admits he rearranged events in order to portray what he saw as the ultimate truth of Achak’s story. We hope you will keep that aspect of the story in mind and determine for yourself what Achak and Eggers are communicating.