Thirty Girls by Susan Minot is a powerful novel based on real-life events that took place in Uganda, in 1996: an abduction of the girls from St. Mary's College of Aboke. The POV moves between Jane, a journalist, and Esther, a girl from St. Mary's. Jane is on the rebound from a divorce; her ex-husband died from a drug overdose. Esther has escaped from her captors and she is trying to heal mentally and physically at a rehabilitation facility.
The two women suffer pain and loss in completely different ways, but their suffering bonds the two together. The novel explores the various ways of interacting and connecting with other people in unfamiliar situations. Jane learns more about herself as she investigates the story of the girls that escaped from the rebel army, and her self-discovery is moving. However, Esther's journey makes a lasting impression - I can't imagine what it would be like to be torn from my bed in the middle of the night and be subjected to the atrocities that Esther was forced to endure.
The novel is not a political statement - it's a story about human nature and how we perceive life based on our personal experiences. I recommend this novel to anyone who needs to take a step out of their comfort zone.