Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman…

Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa (edition 2003)

by Tanya Shaffer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
622302,320 (3.5)3
“It's my life, and if I want to run from it I can,” quips Tanya Shaffer. An incorrigible wanderer, Shaffer has a habit of fleeing domesticity for the joys and rigors of the open road. This time her destination is Ghana, and what results is a transformative year spent roaming the African continent. Eager to transcend the limitations of tourism, Shaffer works as a volunteer, building schools and hospitals in remote villages. At the heart of her tale are the profound, complex, often challenging relationships she forms with those she meets along the way. Whether recounting a perilous boat trip to Timbuktu, a night of impassioned political debate in Ghana, or a fumbled romance in Burkina Faso, Shaffer portrays the collision of African and North American cultures with self-deprecating humor and clear-eyed compassion. Filled with warmth, candor, and an exuberant sense of adventure, Somebody’s Heart is Burning raises provocative questions about privilege, wealth, and the true meaning of friendship.… (more)
Title:Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa
Authors:Tanya Shaffer
Info:Vintage (2003), Edition: Vintage Departures ed, Paperback, 324 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:africa, Ghana, travel

Work details

Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa by Tanya Shaffer



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
Title: Somebody's Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa
Author: Tanya Shaffer
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 2003
332 pages

I enjoyed this memoir of travel in Africa much more than I initially thought I would. I was worried that Shaffer was going to complain about her emotional conflicts about her boyfriend the whole time. While this is as noble a topic as any, it wasn't what I hope for in a travelogue. Though the boyfriend is a recurring theme, he serves less as an object of rumination (though I'm sure she ruminated) and more as a vehicle for the people Shaffer encounters to express their opinions about her decision making and values. The book is a series of vignette-like chapters, many of which hold together quite well and are both interesting and poignant. While some of Shaffer's choices could serve as cautionary tales for travelers, most of the outcomes are at worst benign. This could be paired with Gilman's [b:Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven|4757303|Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven|Susan Jane Gilman|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255603235s/4757303.jpg|4822089] for an interesting class or book club discussion. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
I winced when I read the opening line of Somebody's Heart is Burning. "It's my life, and I'll run from it if I want." It seemed to promise cheesiness and my least favorite travel writing cliche: a plucky but confused female traveler trying to cast herself as a heroine in a chick lit novel. I kept worrying through the first chapter, which is mostly about writer Tonya Shaffer's faltering relationship. But, within 20 pages, the book had changed. Shaffer recognizes that good writers focus on the people and places they encounter, not on their own personal stories. Most of the book is about the fascinating characters Shaffer meets through her year-long excursion through Africa. A few of the people she profiles are fellow travelers, but most are the ordinary Africans who fed and sheltered her out of simple hospitality. Without over-analyzing or sermonizing, Shaffer chronicles the culture clashes she experienced, the poverty she witnessed and the spirit of dozens of people living through what we would consider great hardship. Her prose is plain and easy to read and her narrator leaves plenty of room for readers to analyze the cultural and economic dilemmas described in the book. What emerges is a series of simple but memorable stories that leave a clear snapshot of what life is really like in Africa. My only complaint is the slightly lackluster writing style, but it didn't affect the readability of the book. ( )
1 vote cestovatela | Oct 3, 2007 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.5)
2 1
3 5
3.5 2
4 5
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 143,648,703 books! | Top bar: Always visible