Child of the Jungle: The True Story of a Girl Caught Between Two Worlds

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9780446579063: Child of the Jungle: The True Story of a Girl Caught Between Two Worlds
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A #1 bestseller in Europe, CHILD OF THE JUNGLE tells the remarkable story of a childhood and adolescence spent caught between two modes of existence-jungle life and Western "civilization."
Sabine Kuegler was five years old when her family-her German linguist-missionary parents and her siblings-moved to the territory of the recently discovered hunter-and-gatherer Fayu tribe of Papua New Guinea. The Fayu tribe is best known for being a Stone Age community untouched by modern times-they live an existence characterized by fear, violence, and atavistic ritual (including cannibalism in some regions)-but Sabine's family saw another side to them as well. Once the Kueglers were accepted by a clan chief, they found themselves becoming a part of a tightly knit and fiercely loyal community, and living the primal existence of the Fayu-one marked by the natural cycles of day and night, malaria and other diseases, and daily encounters with wildlife, from swims with crocodiles to dinners of worms.
As the Kueglers changed, so did the Fayu people, learning from Sabine's family that there was a way out of their cycle of violence and that forgiveness can be sweeter than revenge.
At the age of 17, Sabine found her life turned upside down when she left for Switzerland to attend boarding school and entered traditional society head-on. CHILD OF THE JUNGLE is the story of a life lived among the Fayu and the author's attempt to reconcile her feelings about "civilization" with those about a life she knew and loved.

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About the Author:

SABINE KUEGLER lives with her children in Germany.

From Booklist:

Kuegler, who has resided in the "modern world" for only 15 years, begins her extraordinary memoir in 1980, when at age 8 she and her German family moved to the "Lost Valley" in Indonesia's interior, home of the primitive Fayu tribe. Despite the difficult living conditions--boiled river water for baths, a kerosene stove for cooking, an abundance of insects, snakes, and plate-sized spiders--Sabine always feels at home there, living "a life without stress in midst of nature, untouched by modern civilization." She and her siblings teach the native children soccer and hide-and-seek; in return they learn how to survive in the jungle. Kuegler's family gradually teaches its hosts to break the cycle of revenge and murder that has ruled their behavior for centuries, causing the Fayu to live in constant fear, never sure of a viable future. Eventually Kuegler forsakes this world, returning to Germany to pursue traditional education and marriage, but she never forgets the tranquility and comfort she derived from her years in the jungle. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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