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There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's…

There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's…

by Melissa Fay Greene

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3281433,702 (4.24)10
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    It Happened On the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace by Rye Barcott (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both books are about people who see a need in Africa and go about fixing it.

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A truly moving insight ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Audio book narrated by Julie Fain Lawrence

Consumed by grief at the loss of her husband and oldest daughter, Haregewoin Teferra, a middle-class Ethiopian woman, finds solace in attending daily church services – regardless of denomination – and becomes known to other regular church-goers as a very devout woman. True relief eludes her, however, and she decides to ask the local Orthodox priest to be taken into seclusion, so she can spend her days living in a simple hut near the graves of those she loved. But before taking that final step Haregewoin makes the rounds of the churches where she had been welcomed. At the Catholic Church the director of their charity surprises her when he says that he and the priest has just been talking about Haregewoin that morning; the priest thought she might do a favor for him. Curious, she asks what she could possibly do for the priest. Well, there is a 15-year-old orphan, living on the streets; perhaps Haregewoin might be willing to take the girl into her home? A few weeks later they ask her to take in another teen; and then a pair of six-year-old girls. And in this way Haregewoin, without even knowing that she is at the center of a global health disaster and with no training or funding, begins to foster the AIDS orphans of Ethiopia.

Greene is a journalist and has clearly done extensive research. She writes Haregewoin’s story in a compassionate and balanced way, backed up with considerable information on the history of Ethiopia, its culture and religions, as well as the history of HIV/AIDS and the conflict between big pharmaceutical firms intent on profit and protecting their patents, vs. the poor of Africa and other Third World countries who are dying from the pandemic due to lack of medical care. For my own tastes, I wish she had concentrated on Haregewoin’s story, which I found compelling, sometimes frustrating, and mostly heart-warming. I was far less interested in a research piece on epidemiology. I believe Greene might have found a way to include some of this information without disrupting the personal story arc; for example, she could have opened each chapter with factoid bullet points, and put the detailed exposition in an appendix.

Still, the book is well-written and held my interest. Julie Fain Lawrence does a very good job narrating the audio version. I’m glad I had a text version as well, however, or I would have missed all the photographs.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Having read Melissa Fay Greene book "No Biking in the House Without a Helmet" I was quite interested in finding out about the way she actually found the foster mother in Ethopia, who saved all these children.

It was a very good book, but some of the scientific, economic and political explanations went a bit over my head. My husband thoroughly enjoyed it and said he would give it at least 4.5 stars. ( )
  yukon92 | Sep 13, 2014 |
Set in Ethiopa over the past 15 years with a cast of AIDS orphans and a private individual attempting to help them, this book reveals the challenges AIDS presents in the third world. Though she sometimes stumbles in her narrative and transitions, Greene does an admirable job of conveying the needs of the AIDS orphans she depicts. She is clearly very invested in the issue, having adopted one herself! I was particularly intrigued by the section on the possible role of African injection hygiene on the development and spread of AIDS. I guess i haven't been following the news, because I had never heard of this, but it is an intriguing theory. The development of her main character Haregewoin (from bereaved mother to adoptive mother to adoption advocate to activist) is interesting, though sometimes a bit two dimensional. I sort of wished that Haregewoin could keep to her early role and only try to help as many children as she could love. ( )
  CynthiaBelgum | Jul 12, 2013 |
In some ways, this book is overambitious. The author attempts to tell three intertwined stories: AIDS in Africa/Ethiopia, one woman's efforts, and much more peripherally, the author's adoption of two Ethiopian children. However, these strands are not balanced and don't ultimately braid together in a satisfying and even way, though it's sufficient. Less well-executed is the narrative voice, which cannot find its genre--is it reportage, indignant essay, or fiction? It's not intended to be fiction, but the frequent interior monologues and statements about how people other than the author (who is also a character) feel and what they're thinking are incredibly jarring and decrease my belief in the story's veracity. They raise questions about Greene's assumptions. Since many of these putatively nonfictional passages rely on pathos, they're particularly intrusive. The audiobook version features swelling emo instrumental riffs at especially poignant moments, which was startling and annoying.

Someone must tell Greene that "lowly" does not have a primary meaning of "quietly" or "in a low voice," but "humbly." She uses it several times.

These criticisms aside, it's an engaging and maybe even important book, probably an accessible way to interest a book group in AIDS prevention and intervention in Africa. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Offers a revealing study of the human cost of the AIDS pandemic in Africa in a portrait of Haregewoin Teferra, a widowed recluse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, who has become the caretaker of sixty children orphaned and abandoned by the AIDS crisis.

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