I cannot remember the last time a book affected me as strongly as Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan. I felt love, shame, hope, sorrow, and more. I laughed. I cried. Several times. I feel incredibly moved to DO something and I think that’s saying a lot.
From the beginning, I immediately identified with Grennan. As his story starts, he is approaching 30 years of age and he feels, well, rather bored. He’s had the same job for 8 years, a really good job, but he feels like just hasn’t done much with his life. He takes the radical step of giving up his career, his home, and his roots to take his life savings and take a trip around the world. 29 seems young for a midlife crisis, don’t you think? Afraid his quest seems a little self-indulgent, he plans to begin his year abroad with a 2 month stint in an orphanage in war-torn Nepal. Nepal was in the midst of a civil war, but Grennan was pretty unconcerned. Thank goodness for that, because his trip to Nepal turned into a life changing decision, for himself and for many, many others.
At Little Princes, the orphanage Grennan found himself in for 3 months, he met Nishal and Hriteek, Anish and Raju, Yangani and Priya, and so, so many more orphans. Each child shines in Grennan’s narrative, like little lights of endless energy. They promptly tackle Grennan, the minute he timidly walks through the gate, not knowing what to expect, but certainly not that. That tackle is completely indicative of the way these children are. Like Grennan, I was instantly smitten with each bright, shining light. Those children, those rambunctious, irrepressible children light a fire in Grennan in amazing and completely unexpected ways.
Then he learned the orphans weren’t orphans at all. They were taken, kidnapped from their parents by child traffickers who promised safety, education, and protection, and abandoned in the danger of Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. This shock, coupled with his natural compassion and the deep abiding love Grennan felt for these children lead him into an astonishing journey of love, danger, and ultimately something deep and healing for him.
Did he succeed? I’ll leave that for you to find out.
Pick up this book. You will be in for a treat. A moving adventure story fraught with danger, love, tragedy, joy and magic. Little Princes is beautifully written, beautifully read (by the author), and, well, just such an incredibly moving story. I keep saying that, but it’s true. I can’t tell you how many times I was moved to tears; tears of joy and sorrow. And these kids. Damn, but they stole my heart. And Grennan reading is own book? Authors reading their own books can be hit or miss, but let me tell you, Grennan had to have been the only choice for reading this book. He did a fantastic job and I can’t think of anyone who could have done it better. His love, his enthusiasm, his sadness and joy all were conveyed in such wonderful way. I can’t imagine a better way to read this book.
Conor now serves on the Board of Next Generation Nepal, together with his wife, Liz. He is a 2010 graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business, where he was the President of the Student Body. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and son, Finn, and a soon-to-be baby girl.
Many, many thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me take part in this book tour. Please see these other stops for more on Conor and his book:
Tuesday, December 27th: sidewalk shoes
Wednesday, December 28th: The Feminist Texican
Thursday, December 29th: The Road to Here
Monday, January 2nd: Take Me Away
Tuesday, January 3rd: Amused By Books
Wednesday, January 4th: The House of the Seven Tails
Thursday, January 5th: Amusing Reviews
Monday, January 9th: Library of Clean Reads
Tuesday, January 10th: Book Snob
Thursday, January 12th: BookNAround
Thanks to the publisher, Harper Collins, for my copy of this book. I listened to the audiobook due to time constraints, which was published by Harper Audio. I purchased my copy from Audible.
Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
Written by Conor Grennan
Read by Conor Grennan
9 hours, 37 minutes
Harper Audio, January 2011