Civil war came to Caldwell and the father, three daughters, and two grandparents fled on foot for weeks until they reached an isolated village where they had family. Because the last leg was by boat, it was inconvenient for the war to reach the village--but if they needed medicine the war could still touch them.
The back cover tells you that she survived, and came to the US, and went back again--to find an angel. (Not her words.)
The first part is a child's eye view of life in Liberia, and worth reading just for that. Just a hint--her father doesn't want to tell her about gunfire, and so she uses the word "drums" because that's what she thought it was.
She describes her teenage self as painfully aware of being black and different in the USA: trying to "find herself" and trying to "fit in"--not an easy circle to square.
She dreams of Satta, the rescuing rebel soldier, over and over, and finally decides to go back to Liberia to find the rest of her family again. The last part of the memoir belongs to her mother, telling her part of the story.
The Dragon is legion: a prince who tries to chase the monsters out of the forest becomes a dragon in his turn, to be chased by others later. Doe, Prince Johnson, Charles Taylor--and others. She finds racist dragons in the US too. The women are the women she knew, and perhaps herself as well. The Giant--I'll let you learn that yourself.
The memoir speaks of great losses and confusion, and hard choices, and confesses to some stupidity. But courage and love move through it.
Thank you, Ann