Bev Jackson's has written a genuinely moving and educational book about the current refugee situation. She describes in a passionate, honest and amusing way her experience as a volunteer for the Starfish organisation in Lesvos. Due to her craft(wo)manship her book, although being such a heavy subject, is easy to read in the best sense of the word. She helps the reader understand the graveness of the situation and at the same time she manages to show signs of hope. A courageous account of an actual situation that we all could do something about. Bev raises our awareness in what we could do. All in all the book is uplifting, as it is always great to read about someone actually doing something to make this world a slightly better place. Thanks Bev.
I chose to read this book because my grandson is volunteering at Starfish right now and I totally support his passion. I recommend this book to every one who chooses to be enlightened about CURRENT events and world events. I especially appreciate that it was written from a first- person's perspective. So sad but so true.
This is a quick read with an on-the-ground perspective of volunteering to aid refugees on Northern Lesvos. Excellent for people interested in understanding more of the challenges facing refugees - and those who want to help them.
Have just finished reading this book and I too was impressed with the clear and recent link between images on TV and what is happening on the ground on Lesvos. Since the proceeds go directly to Starfish, buying Bev's book has helped to alleviate some of my own feelings of guilt and helplessness, something many of us have felt I'm sure in recent months.
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought: Title: A Month with Starfish Author: Bev Jackson Star Rating: 4 Stars Number of Readers: 17 Stats Editing: 8/10 Writing Style: 6/10 Content: 9/10 Cover: 7/10 Of the 17 readers: 15 would read another book by this author. 11 thought the cover was good or excellent. 17 felt it was easy to follow. 15 would recommend this story to another reader to try. 14 felt the pacing was good or excellent. 15 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.
Readers’ Comments ‘I was very moved by this author’s account of her time working with refugees. It’s not too heavy, thankfully; the author is very capable at adding a light touch here and there. Writing style was a little underdeveloped but the subject matter was gripping.’ Female reader, aged 29 ‘A short book but still very interesting. Any book that shows the reader the true nature of a refugee, is worth reading. I might send a copy to Donald Trump.’ Male reader, aged 54 ‘Solid cover, solid writing style, wonderful story. Sad in parts, had me chuckling in others. Very well done.’ Female reader, aged 44 ‘Shows the terrible peril they were in without over-dramatising it.’ Female reader, aged 62 ‘I was expecting a sad read but, although the author shows us what life was like there, she has a fantastic sense of humour. I enjoyed it to the very last page.’ Male reader, aged 41
To Sum It Up: ‘A moving, often powerful story. A Red Ribbon winner and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Feel cynical about life? Feel inadequate in view of all the current crises - financial or humanitarian? Why not read Bev Jackson's A Month with Starfish, an honest account of her experiences in the Oxy refugee camp on Lesbos helping refugees who managed to cross the sea in unsafe rubber dinghies or leaky wooden vessels? Her book is a wonderful antidote against giving up on life. With humour and self-scrutiny she describes the days in which she plastered hundreds of slices of processed white bread with processed cheese (the turkey variety had to go because refugees mistook it for pork), handed out bananas and sometimes apples, if available, and water and milk for the children. Long shifts during which she came to work with other volunteers from many different countries whose characters and routines sometimes jarred on her, but who all became cherished friends, and who gave her "a crash course in human possibilities and her own limitations". Making friends with the refugees, many of them in shock after an often hazardous sea crossing, having fled from bombed homes, having seen loved ones killed, often penniless - their last money paid to the Turkish boat mafia - was no option. All the refugees welcomed at Oxy are in transit. They receive dry clothes, food and medical care, if necessary, and are put on buses that bring them to Mytilene where they could register and start on their journey into Europe, if Europe is willing to help them. But even the few exchanges with refugees who had to wait for buses and had to stay the night in tents provided for by UNCHR made a lasting impression on Jackson. The first few days she reacted emotionally, but she realized that it would not serve anyone if that kept her from providing the necessary practical aid and thus she threw herself into all kinds of activities that could not have been in greater contrast with her everyday life in Amsterdam as a translator, mother and grandmother and wife of Heleen, who shared her volunteer work on Lesbos. Reading A Month with Starfish makes you enter a world full of hardship and misery that is counteracted by immense compassion for people in need. The volunteers working for Starfish or other organizations are evidence that the way the media and politicians present the refugee crisis is not only cruel, but untrue. It is not Europe that has a refugee crisis, "It is the people in war-torn countries, people who have been forced to flee for their lives, who are in crisis", Jackson writes. And the book also shows that it is not impossible to go there and help. Bev Jackson donates the proceeds of A Month with Starfish to the Starfish volunteer organization and she will return to Lesbos.