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There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children
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There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,503 Ratings  ·  368 Reviews
There Is No Me Without You is the story of Haregewoin Tefarra, a middle-aged Ethiopian woman of modest means whose home has become a refuge for hundreds of children orphaned by AIDS. It is a story as much about the power of the bond between children and parents as about the epidemic that every year leaves millions of children, mostly healthy themselves, without family. Ori ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2006)
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Dec 12, 2012 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, medical, ethiopia

Having completed the book, here are my thoughts. Everybody should read this book. When you say millions of AIDS orphans, it doesn't really mean anything. When you come to know a few, their thoughts, their experiences, their fears and dreams, the numbers take on a face and they mean something. It is much better to understand one individual in depth than millions without faces.

You fall in love with some of these children. Most parents wanted to adopt baby girls. Do you know who were wi
Sep 09, 2007 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dik
This is the book that is causing me to rethink my life and try to decide if I am living a meaningful life. Am I doing enough good or should I sell my possessions, move to Africa or India and dedicate my life to something more useful than having a socially conscious job and owning a home.

Haregewoin Teferra was a middle class woman in Ethiopia, a professional woman with an husband who was a teacher and two beautiful and beloved daughters. After her husband passes away she raises her daughters to a
May 10, 2008 Marci rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: favoritebooks
This book really taught me a lot both intellectually and personally. It taught me that I haven't the first clue about poverty, the orphan crisis, about Africa and about AIDS. The author writes in a journalistic style about a current day Ethiopian woman who after the death of her husband and later her daughter decides to enter a life of hermitude. As she goes to say her good byes to a priest friend he asks her to take in a street girl and care for her. She reluctantly says yes. With in a few mont ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it
To be honest I found a lot of the writing a bit too speculative - telling us about how children felt, when the author was not there, let alone in the mind of the child concerned. But that is only a minor quibble. This is an amazing story about an amazing Ethiopian woman - Haregewoin Teferra - who took lots of children orphaned by AIDS, into her home.

I very much like the way the author interspersed the story with theories about how AIDS may have come into being, and the fantastic politics of the
Aug 24, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookgroup
I wasn't anticipating the emotional journey this book would take me on. I've been sad, angry, happy, bereft, indignant, heartbroken, despairing, hopeful, and just about every other emotion you can imagine while I've been reading it.
I'm so moved by the true-life heroine of this book, Haregewoin Teferra who turned her grief after losing her husband and a daughter into a mission to rescue as many of the thousands of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia as she could handle, and then some. The author doesn't pai
After reading Melissa Fay Greene's funny No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, I picked up this earlier book about the woman who runs the orphanage from which some of Green's children came. Somehow I missed it when it came out, despite its winning a slew of awards that year. It is a powerful book, and it took me a long time to finish it because I needed time to absorb its impact. The book is not maudlin nor manipulative, but its subject, AIDS orphans, is tragic.

Greene is an excellent writer,
Jun 16, 2007 Christy rated it it was amazing
This is an eye-opening book about AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. Melissa Fay Greene particularly focuses on the efforts of one woman who cares for those orphans. Haregewoin Teferra was one of the few refuges for AIDS orphans in the earlier days of the pandemic. Greene's tale doesn't seek to make Haregewoin into a saint, but shows her in all her courage and also her limited ability to handle the incredible task she takes on. When the Western world begins to laud Haregewoin for her deeds, Greene also s ...more
Apr 11, 2010 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Much like Half the Sky, this was one of those books I often found myself wishing everyone would read. Briefly speaking, in There is No Me Without You, journalist Melissa Fay Greene explores the history of HIV/AIDS, the subsequent plight in Africa (more specifically, Ethiopia), and how one woman reached out and tried to bring about change. Insightful, educational and inspiring.
Jan 17, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Powerfully written, There is No Me Without You, presents solid research, incomprehensible statistics and the more powerful prose of personal narratives and stories out of Ethiopia giving a face and depth the the HIV/AIDS crisis.

I cannot adequately express how moving and powerful this story was for me. The HIV/AIDS crisis, the cause of orphans and widows are all completely overwhelming and more often than not leave me feeling powerless and hopeless. Greene presents these overwhelming factors alon
Eileen Souza
Jun 08, 2010 Eileen Souza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, adoption
This is one of the most profound, informative, and life-altering books that I have ever read. If I could give it six stars, I would.

I started reading this book because I’m a prospective adoptive parent, looking to adopt from Ethiopia. I could not have picked a better book to explain the history and reality of HIV as well as the impact on the children of Ethiopia.

This non-fiction work is a story told in two parts. The first aspect of the book covers the history of the development of HIV/AIDS, how
Mar 02, 2009 Aaron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ethiopia, non-fiction
Only having time to read a few pages per day, this book took me a long time to finish. But as I read, I was constantly pulled closer. Closer to the stories of children becoming lost, and becoming found again. Closer to the story of a woman just like the rest of us who gave everything to save the few children she could. And closer to the big picture that is the global AIDS epidemic. Before long, I wasn't able to sit down and read without consuming 15-20 pages at a time.

Melissa Fay Greene pulls of
Justine Olawsky
Sep 26, 2013 Justine Olawsky rated it liked it
I wish there were more options for the rating system. I "liked" this book in the sense that I am glad to have read it. I "liked" it in the sense that it was beautifully, achingly written in parts. I "liked" it because I think that I am a bit more completely, expansively human for having read it. On the other hand, the subject matter is heart-breaking, the narrator can, at times, be frustrating and intrusive, and the book is one I can never imagine turning to again with pleasure. But, it was cert ...more
I was sad to finish this book. If we ever do adopt from Ethiopia, which is a growing dream of mine:
1) I want to purchase a copy of this book for each child we adopt;
2) I want my husband to read this book;
3) I want to refer everyone who asks "why?" we would adopt to this book.

Greene's journalistic style weaves the life of a woman literally sucked into orphan rescue (Haregewoin Teferra's), statistical analysis, vignettes of the children's lives, global politics, Ethiopian history, causes/ developm
Mar 03, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing
I had a difficult time putting this book down. It is the story of an Ethiopian woman (Haregewoin), who is modestly comfortable (financially) for the first half of her life, experiences a great personal loss and ends up taking in an orphaned child. Six weeks later, Haregewoin takes in another orphan, then another, until she finds herself unable to say "no" to requests for help. An orphanage results, she struggles to make ends meet and her life is no longer her own. Despite this, Greene (the autho ...more
Jan 26, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Confession- I thought I was buying a different book when I did my one click ordering; however, I am so grateful that this book came into my life. As someone who has studied public health, you would think that the impact of the AIDS epidemic wouldn't shock me, but nothing can prepare you for these stories of heartache and loss. It's not an easy book to read, but the lives of these remarkable humans are powerful, inspirational, and resilient.
Dec 17, 2008 Kay rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kay by: NY Times Book Review
This is one of the most important books I've read this year, maybe this decade. It is a true story of corruption and AIDS, not as a generality, but as a disease that can erase a country if not a continent unless our help gets to whom it needs to go. It is a story of how each individual person, doing what is within their ability to do, can make a change. This is the book our young people need to be reading.....not the fantasy world of Twilight.
Feb 03, 2014 JoBeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Melissa Fay Green is one of my favorite writers of what I call popular ethnographic nonfiction. Praying for Sheetrock introduced me to some of the racial politics of Georgia, and held me spellbound. Similarly, There Is No Me Without You informed, challenged, and made heart-achingly human the AIDS epidemic in Africa, specifically Ethiopia, and the children who are the collateral damage in that poorly-waged war. Greene details the inception, spread, inadequate treatment, and countless human storie ...more
Nov 30, 2007 Jess rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-read
sad but inspirational story of a woman who, despite having next to nothing, ran an orphanage in ethiopia. greene has a knack for telling stories of people who beat the odds (she wrote Praying for Sheetrock).
Oct 20, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing
The true story of an Ethiopian woman named Haregewoin Teferra who turned the personal tragedies of losing her husband to an early heart attack and one of her two daughters to AIDS into a determination to save the children of Ethiopia. She began by taking in a few of Addis Adaba's many orphans, and before long her home became an orphanage. Eventually her operations expanded to include hundreds of AIDS orphans, including a few babies that had AIDS themselves. In an effort to provide the best possi ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Lois rated it really liked it
This is the true story of an Ethopian woman who, against the wishes of most of her friends, begins taking orphans into her home, to honor the memory of her husband and daughter. Many turn out to be HIV-positive or have other serious afflictions. At first this new mission in life makes her very happy and fulfilled, but as word spreads of her kindness, and more and more people begin dropping children off at her door, it becomes quite overwhelming. In time she has over 80 children at once, and has ...more
David Quinn
Jan 17, 2014 David Quinn rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim Tyo-Dickerson
I read this in the weeks before traveling to Ethiopia to adopt our children. My understanding of Ethiopia and the situation of vulnerable children and the complexities of making a difference continue to be informed by this book. A must read for anyone adopting internationally and for anyone who wants to understand more about how difficult it is do the right thing, all the time, in every circumstance. All too human frailties, misjudgments and bad choices co-mingle with the passion and purpose to ...more
Dec 20, 2009 Esther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This is a powerful book about the Aids epidemic in Ethiopia and all the children who have become orphans because of this disease.
Dec 05, 2015 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Greene is the exactly the sort of author I want to be: informational, eye-opening, historical, culturally-appropriate yet not prone to fantasies of "poverty romance," empathetic, hard-hitting....once again she has blown my mind with this book. I learned so much about not only Ethiopia but the history and context of AIDS, so much so that I even quoted the book in one of my graduate classes.

I love how Greene doesn't paint the real-life protagonist of the book as a perfect hero; I love how she alw
Aug 23, 2010 Donna rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
An inspiring book, and one I would have finished if I hadn't left for vacation when I was on page 145.
A moving, heartlifting account of how an Ethiopian woman handles AIDS, orphans and adoption.
Mar 25, 2014 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This book is so well written- it educates the reader on the tragic AID epidemic in Ethiopia, the staggering numbers of orphans and the millions of HIV positive children and adults. The stories are gut wrenching and tore my heart apart. Yet, there is such a resilience in children, and that is where the beauty comes into this story. The author also follows and Ethiopian woman gripped with grief who finds healing in helping the orphaned children of Ethiopia. I felt so many emotions while reading th ...more
Jenny Whitaker
Feb 24, 2015 Jenny Whitaker rated it really liked it
This book is somewhat outdated as it was written in 2005 and published in 2006 however it does provide great background on AIDS in Ethiopia and to a better understanding of it's impact (and lack of affordable medication) to the people, families, and especially the children of this country. I love that the author wrote about the good and the bad - that no one is perfect, but out of grief and love for children a woman did her best, when there was little other resources and places for orphaned chil ...more
Dec 26, 2015 Ann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Make this book mandatory reading.
Shelves: favorites
It is difficult to realize that Melissa Fay Greene wrote this book almost 10 years ago. Our world problems caused by AIDS have been around such a relatively short time; however, the destruction of lives, especially to the poorest countries, including Ethiopia are unbelievable. Greene is an amazing author who tells the story from the eyes of the woman who runs an orphanage in Ethiopia without any financial support. Greene developed the necessary background of AIDS including the scientific, medica ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Lily rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2015
This is the first book I read only because it kept popping up incessantly on my Goodreads recommendations list. I'm glad I took the recommendation because I learned a lot about the AIDS crisis, and I learned a lot about Ethiopia as well. Interspersed between these accounts is the story of Haregewoin Teferra, a woman whose big heart enabled her to take in countless AIDS orphans when no one else would touch them.

At the very beginning of the book, the author notes that even "Mother Theresa was no
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Melissa Greene has been a contributor to NPR, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, LIFE, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Readers Digest, Ms., The Wilson Quarterly, Redbook, and She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Don Samuel, a criminal defense attorney. They have been married for 28 years and are the parents of nine children: Molly, Seth, Lee, Lily, Jesse (adopted ...more
More about Melissa Fay Greene...

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“So how does it happen that -- while most people instinctively try to save themselves and their families from a catastrophe -- a few slow down, look back, and suddenly reach out to strangers? Instead of fleeing in the opposite direction, a few wade into the rising waters to try to yank the drowning onto higher land. ... In the coming months and years, I would learn that -- just as there is no blood test to identify who will jump into the fray -- there is no simple biographical arc either. No resume can predict why this man or woman, at a safe remove from crisis, suddenly announces, "This is my fight.” 3 likes
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