Aug 17, 2011

Little Princes

Blurb: In search of adventure, 29-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war—for a huge fee—by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life’s work.

Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations.

What I liked: I'm a huge fan of armchair adventures and when the adventurer actually starts making a real difference in the world, that's frosting on a delicious cake. Conor has a sly sense of humor that pops up all over the place; he never falls in love with his own awesomeness. As Conor sets up his nonprofit, finds a house and miraculously finds ALL seven lost children (he'd originally rescued them, starving and filthy from a hovel but the aid workers couldn't reach them - civil war going on -before the original trafficker moved them) in a series of miraculous events that illustrated supernatural timing. The scenes where Conor reconnects parents with their lost children made me tear up. While this is not a religious book, God's fingers are all over this story, both in Conor's growing love for Nepal and the children, and in the way everything comes together - relationships, money and grace.

What I didn't like: I would've loved to have heard from Liz, Conor's now-wife. The story includes their love story that began via email and blossomed into a serious relationship almost despite themselves. While Conor was the driving force behind forming the nonprofit, Next Generation Nepal, Liz could've given good insights on what things looked like from the outside and her own decision making process as she mulled over taking a leap of faith.

Worth checking out: Conor's website, as well as the Amazon page with an essay he wrote about the book.


E.R. King said...

Great review. I like reading stories that are based off real events and people, especially those centered around family. You did a good job of giving me the pros and cons. I'll add it to my reading list.

Jess said...

Wow, this sounds like a powerful story. Thanks for sharing your take on it!