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King Peggy : an American secretary, her…
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King Peggy : an American secretary, her royal destiny, and the inspiring… (2012)

by Peggielene Bartels

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The people behind this book made one of the strangest style decisions I can remember. Despite the fact that this is an autobiography, it's told in third person, and in a really distant manner. I'm not sure why this decision was made, but it made it really difficult to get into the story, which otherwise should have been very interesting: a woman who has lived in America for decades becomes the king of her tiny Ghanaian village. Unsurprisingly, that village is full of chauvinist pigs. Trouble and feminism ensue. If only the book had been written in first person, or in a personal third person way, that we could really get to know Peggy and the trials she went through. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Mar 21, 2013 |
How did a female American secretary from Silver Spring, Maryland, become the king of a Ghanian village? Peggielene Bartels tells her story, beginning with a call she received in 2008 informing her that her uncle the king had died and that the ancestors had chosen her as the next king. Over the next several years, Peggy continued to work as a secretary at the Ghanian embassy in Washington, D.C. while making annual trips to Ghana to take care of her village's business.

Peggy quickly discovered that the king had many financial obligations and that the village treasury was empty. Peggy would have to find a way to pay for her enstoolment ceremony and for a funeral for her uncle, the “late king who was in the fridge” in Accra awaiting burial. The palace was practically uninhabitable and needed extensive repairs and renovations.

The challenges facing her weren't just financial. It gradually became clear to Peggy that she could not trust the village elders. The elders who weren't corrupt were weak. The elders expected business to continue as usual and resisted Peggy's attempts to exercise her authority as king. As soon as Peggy resolved one problem, another one arose. Peggy's confidence in her ability grew as she successfully dealt with challenge after challenge.

For me, the most interesting aspect of Peggy's story is her religious syncretism. She mixes a Christian faith with ancestor worship. She prays to God and she prays to her ancestors, pouring out libations and performing other rituals to keep the ancestors happy. This would be worthwhile reading for students of anthropology, religion, and missions. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 13, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was a joy to read. As a fan of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, I enjoyed it a great deal, but this was a true story which made it a more interesting read. I highly recommend it. ( )
  rosagallica | Jun 1, 2012 |
Author, Bartels, was Ghanian who became a US Citizen and had lived in US for over 20 years, working as a secretary at her Embassy in washington, DC. She came from the small village of Otuam and her uncle who had been king died. The dead spoke to the living (the elders of the king) and said Peggy Bartels should be the next king. The book chronicles her adventures as king of 7,000 people in an impoverished village in ruins (still spending most of the year working in D.C.) and the steps she took and help she received to turn Otuam (and other villages in the future) into a town with running water, latrines, schools (taught by Americans), a bank, etc. Terrific story. ( )
  bogopea | May 6, 2012 |
This was an enjoyable book about a secretary who became a king. Peggy's story is both humorous and poignant. There are parts of the story that made me laugh out loud, and there were parts that made me search within myself and be grateful for what I have. An excellent book. ( )
  briandrewz | May 3, 2012 |
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Dedication
To my mother, Madam Mary E. Vormoah, who was my best friend and made me the woman I am today.

--PB
To the people of Otuam, and all the Otuams around the world, for their hope and joy in the face of poverty.

--EH
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In the dream, Peggy was back in Kumasi, a child again, walking home from school in her sky blue uniform with the round white collar.  (Prologue)
Is the king dead?
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Book description
The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa.


King Peggy chronicles the astonishing journey of American secretary, Peggielene Bartels, who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 people on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins. Peggy's first two years as king of Otuam unfold in a way that is stranger than fiction. In the end, a deeply traditional African town is uplifted by the ambitions of its decidedly modern female king, and Peggy is herself transformed, from an ordinary secretary to the heart and hope of her community.

[retrieved 2/14/13 from Amazon.com]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385534329, Hardcover)

A Look Inside King Peggy

Children of Otuam Eleanor and King Peggy in Otuam King Peggy

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:06 -0400)

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"King Peggy" is the charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa.

» see all 2 descriptions

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