I don’t know where I first heard about Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, but I do know that it had been on my to-read list for quite some time and I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to my lofty expectations, and in fact would not have lived up to even the most modest of expectations.
The portion of the book that covers what it claims to cover, that is the author volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal, is quite spectacular. I learned a lot of things, many of which I’d rather not know simply because they’re so g.d. depressing, and the writing, while somewhat juvenile, was engaging enough.
But the problem with this book is that a lot of it goes into great detail about meeting a girl on the internet and falling in love with her. And by “great detail” I mean that the author adds numerous emails back and forth between the two of them. I get that they’re very special to him, but to the casual reader who doesn’t know either of them they are mundane to the extreme. Each of the examples he includes of witty things she said or brilliant banter between them fell totally flat. If I were a skimmer, I would have skimmed without hesitation.
It’s all the more frustrating because towards the end of the book you’re not reading about this fledgling love in addition to the stories at the orphanage – you’re reading about them in place of the actual interesting story. For example, the first time the author travels into the mountains to search for parents, he details his adventures and it’s the most moving portion of the book. The second time though, he merely mentions it and them moves on to some other ‘clever’ thing his lady friend said.
I couldn’t help but feeling that this was a story that could have benefited from a ghost-writer, or perhaps it should have been written by another author as non-fiction rather than by Mr. Grennan as a memoir. It seems that an unbiased third party would have been better able to identify the truly compelling parts of the story.