THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA
Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
BQB Publishing (2019)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (2/20)
“The Dung Beetles of Liberia” by Daniel V. Meier, Jr. is about a young underclassman, Ken Verrier, trying to figure out his life. On the outside, Ken appears as if he has it all together – he is attending a prestigious college to obtain a degree in physics and has a very attractive and attentive girlfriend by his side. What not everyone may know is that Ken has had a traumatic experience take place that has caused him to rethink his life decisions and choose to shift his aspirations to different avenues in order to do some self-discovering.
On a whim, he informs his parents and his girlfriend that he is taking inspiration from Ishmael by putting a pause on his degree and finding a job as a commercial pilot – a passion of his. Liberia, Africa is where Ken chooses as his destination. With some called-in favors, he acquires the necessary papers and is soon flying. Being from the United States, Ken finds that his co-workers, as well as everyone around him, are much different than what he is used to. Working alongside ex-Nazis, and figuring out who the “untouchables” are (aka the ones with the money who run the area), all contribute to the stories he has to tell about his time spent flying, and how the rich are very rich, while the poor are barely hanging in there.
Ken’s experiences as a pilot in Liberia most certainly are appropriate to be recorded for an audience; I cannot even imagine having to live through it all myself. Being a citizen of Liberia for as long as he did, he proved his citizenship by taking on the diseases, turmoil, and culture of the land.
I found the cover of the book to be very appropriate – the color, the outline of the beetle with the diamond and the gun in its center are all important aspects of Ken’s experiences. While Ken’s life was recorded with action and adventure, the style in which Meier wrote the book would not be considered an “action and adventure” type of story, but more so in the style of a memoir with recordings of a man’s time spent flying airplanes with various cargo and people and the things he had to endure and work through in those times.
I believe the audience for this story would be those who enjoy stories of other cultures, as well as historical fiction. “The Dung Beetles of Liberia” by Daniel V. Meier, Jr. is highly recommended reading!