When I come across a riveting biography or any type of powerful non fiction book, a number of emotions overcome me; sometimes joy, sometimes pain, and sometimes sorrow. It’s that type of book that resonates the most with me, real people with real stories. Little Princes by Conor Grennan fits into this category. It’s the incredible story of Conor, a trip to Nepal, and a group of orphans that changed his life forever. Not only does this book tug at your heart strings, but it leaves you breathless and educated at the same time.
Looking only for a great trip to brag about, Conor began a round-the-world trip by volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal. What he got was something much more valuable: perspective and soul. The way he describes the children, the dangers of a small country being torn apart by civil war, and how he reacts to his new surroundings is enthralling. I really had a clear picture in my head of his mind state and thought process.
I won’t bore you with an attempted summary of the story, because I honestly couldn’t do it the justice it deserves. What I can describe to you are the two parts of the book I still can’t get out of my mind. The first, when he writes about leaving the Little Princes orphanage and he couldn’t help but feel like he was abandoning the kids, that he was walking out on a responsibility to them as a guardian or even a parent. I won’t lie to you, but reading this part made me sob openly and unashamedly. As an English teacher in South Korea for two years, I had similar feelings when I left my students (obviously different circumstances and scenarios, the similarities begin and end with those feelings). His attachment and devotion to those kids was very apparent and it was interesting to see how after just 3 short months, he had changed so deeply.
Another incredible part of his story is when Conor went on a journey through the countryside and mountains to find the orphans’ villages. He undertook this mission voluntarily and knowing all the dangers that went along with it. It was out of sheer love for these kids. You have to understand, this was mountainous terrain, crawling with unfriendly soldiers and dangerous people, and unknown weather conditions. He had guides, who turned out to be quite amazing, and a sense of what to expect. He battled an early knee injury and continued the journey just for the chance to reunite some of the kids with their families. His description of the country during this part of the story is just unbearably beautiful. The kindness of people they came across and the ensuing results were just spectacular and touching.
Everyone who reads this book will have different feelings and attachments to different circumstances. There are parts I haven’t mentioned that are just as enthralling and important as the two I did, but I could go on for days about Conor Grennan and his story. This has become one of my favorite books. Not just because it is an incredible story by an incredible person, but because it gave me a new appreciation for another country. It made me contemplate what I would do in the same situation, would I be as strong as Conor? It left me feeling that what he accomplished was nothing short of a miracle and inspired me to want to be like him, which is a powerful emotion to take away from a book. He shows a concern for others that is nowadays unheard of and stirs emotions that are reserved only for acts of uncommon greatness. We all have our heroes and people we look up to, Conor is now one of mine. I’ll have the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him in a few weeks and I’ll be able to do the one thing I wanted to do after finishing his book; shake his hand.
Follow me on Twitter @albatross15
Learn more about Little Princes now.
Visit Conor’s website here.