First things first: this was instantly and easily one of the best books I've ever read.
Usually I read a book for entertainment, to pass the time, orFirst things first: this was instantly and easily one of the best books I've ever read.
Usually I read a book for entertainment, to pass the time, or even occasionally for intellectual stimulation or to learn something. This one's different. This book has changed me. I can never think of the world or the people in it the same way again, because of this book.
As others have mentioned doing in their reviews, in reading this book I began asking myself, "Am I the kind of person I want to be? Am I truly Christlike? Am I doing the things I should in this life?"
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, unequivocally. Just be warned: this book will change you.
--- I decided to include my journal entry I wrote about this book:
October 24, 2014
I just finished reading this book, There Is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene. My wife had actually been bugging me for a while to read it, but it wasn’t until a coworker mentioned the book to me that I decided I would give it a try. ( Kadee wasn’t too impressed about that, she said, “So his opinion is more important than mine?” )
In brief, this book is about three things: it is about Ethiopia, it is about the AIDS epidemic, and it is about one Ethiopian lady’s efforts to help a few of the millions of orphans that were created in Ethiopia as a result of AIDS. Her name was Haregewoin Teferra.
The book was powerful. Transformative. Thought-provoking. When others write reviews of this book, they frequently speak of being forced to search their souls and re-examine their lives for true value. I admit that at one point I was getting teary-eyed reading the book in a car garage waiting room while getting the oil changed in my car. Honestly I'm not sure how to express in words my reaction to this book, it invoked in me so many thoughts, feelings, realizations.
There was the section of blistering judgment against Big Pharma and how their greed fanned the flames of the epidemic and allowed countless fellow human beings to die in the name of capitalism.
There was criticism of some people’s thinking, in regards to the AIDS epidemic, that the international community should “cut its losses” and forsake those already infected, because it was “too expensive” or “too logistically difficult” to treat them, and instead focus efforts on teaching prevention to the rising generation. I must admit that a part of me finds itself nodding along to this kind of proposition. It seems economical, efficient. Greene was quick to point out that, in the same vein as the story of the kid throwing starfish back into the ocean, helping people here and now has had a great positive effect.
I was also fascinated to read about how Haregewoin’s life played out. She went through several deep trials which were overcome in unexpected ways that, I felt, exemplified God’s manner of helping us in ways that we didn’t anticipate. Haregewoin was devastated by personal losses early in her life, but her broken spirit was ultimately renewed as she put all the energy she had into caring for those poor, sweet children that had no one else. She exemplified Jesus’s teaching:
Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
She wasn’t a saint, to hear Greene tell the story. She rolled her eyes, expressed frustration, doubt, and cynicism. But she would roll up her sleeves and do what she could for the kids. At one point she started to receive acknowledgement for her hard work and even some money, and started to have a little pride, and it was at that moment when everything was almost ruined. Humbled, Haregewoin reined in her ambitions and rededicated herself to the kids.
But most compelling to me was the description of the orphans. How they were left behind, dumped on Haregewoin’s doorstep, smuggled in. How they were hurt, unable to fathom why their families were abandoning them, if they even still had family members. How they were desperate to latch onto a parental figure and receive love. Though it was never stated explicitly, one gets the impression that the children needed love even more than they needed food, clothing, or shelter. Greene perfectly depicted the kids so that empathy for and understanding of their plight came easily. It was very emotional to later read of their adoptions and how they found themselves in loving families again.
It was crazy to me how some of these families would drop off their kid and say, “We can’t take care of him anymore.” Haregewoin, her resources stretched beyond thin, would try to explain that she couldn’t either, but in these battles of wills the kid invariably ended up with Haregewoin. To hear Greene tell it, she never could say no to taking in a child, no matter how badly she wanted or needed to. That indicated to me that there was something special inside Haregewoin’s heart, perhaps that spark of charity that we must all seek to obtain, for without it we are nothing, NOTHING. One can’t help but ask oneself, in reading this book, “Do I have charity in my heart? If I were put to the test, would I really have what it takes to help another human being?”
Read this book and find yourself asking that question....more
While I appreciate the message meant to be portrayed by this book, I thought the vehicle of delivery totally sucked. It did not strike a chord with meWhile I appreciate the message meant to be portrayed by this book, I thought the vehicle of delivery totally sucked. It did not strike a chord with me and actually typically repelled me. I cannot recommend this book to anyone. I must contrast this book with that of "The Book Thief", which sends a similar message in a much more elegant, credible, emotional way....more
It's hard for me to review this book. There are aspects that had me riveted but other aspects that had me grinding my teeth. I settled for 3 stars, peIt's hard for me to review this book. There are aspects that had me riveted but other aspects that had me grinding my teeth. I settled for 3 stars, perhaps 3.5?
What an amazing story. This book had me on the internet, doing some research, saying to myself, "Dis that REALLY happen?" I enjoyed the prose for the most part - simple, accessible, effective. The book lost points for me because there were parts (a lot of the middle area) that were repetitive and just seemed to go on and on and on. I feel like the book could have gotten its point across with a little more brevity or less detail in certain parts.
My emotional reaction to this book was mixed. I was shocked and angered at the description of the treatment of the POW's. I honestly think I was stomping around a bit grumpy the last couple of days partly due to reading this book! But I think the author succeeded in "bringing it home" and having a good wrap-up and emotional release at the end. And it's a true story! Even more than the things Louie Zamperini lived through, what impressed me most was his ability to survive emotional and mental devastation, rise above through the power of Christ's atonement. Definitely worth the read!...more
Really good book. It's been awhile since I had a book good enough to prevent me from falling asleep at night. Once I was about 2/3rds of the way throuReally good book. It's been awhile since I had a book good enough to prevent me from falling asleep at night. Once I was about 2/3rds of the way through I began to grow angry over the fact that I am reading this excellent series on the leading edge and will have to wait a long time for book 3 to come out.
I was surprised at how this book alternated from drop-dead serious (even a bit dark and gruesome in some spots compared to Sanderson's other works) and surprisingly comical or even silly dialogue. "I am a stick" has still got me shaking my head with a smile. The poop discussion was shocking. And I laughed out loud at the end - "hey there, would you like to destroy some evil today?!" I have to admit, though, I don't know how he (Sanderson) does it, but it just works for me.
I admit, the beginning was rough. Sanderson doesn't waste time with recaps and there were quite a few references that I had completely forgotten about from book 1. I had to go to the web and look up "book 1 recap" and was surprised at how much of THAT I didn't even remember. It all settled in after awhile, though. Still, my wife and I had decided to stop reading the series after this book and wait for more to come out before we dived in again. However, by the time I finished this book, I decided that it was so good that I had to change my mind, and I will be eagerly snatching up book 3 the moment it is available....more
This book did not begin well, for me. Actually the first half of the book was only worthy of about 2.5 stars. It was only in the second half where thiThis book did not begin well, for me. Actually the first half of the book was only worthy of about 2.5 stars. It was only in the second half where things started picking up, and the the last few scenes blasted the story from "slow story overly focused on a gimmicky magic system" into "full-blown fantasy success story", setting up a world and plot arc much, much more complicated than was promised at the start. I eagerly await the next book....more
The mechanics felt a bit loose for Sanderson's standards, and the twists were very predictable. Not my favorite Sanderson work, by a longshot. Still,The mechanics felt a bit loose for Sanderson's standards, and the twists were very predictable. Not my favorite Sanderson work, by a longshot. Still, even ho-hum Sanderson is a better read than a lot of other stuff....more
The narrator was too strong, for me. His (?) voice was getting in the way of the story, which started quite slo
I didn't like this book, not at first.
The narrator was too strong, for me. His (?) voice was getting in the way of the story, which started quite slowly. But i was intrigued by the obvious literary talent, and kept going. This author (these authors?) has a powerful way with words; you can picture his phrases in your head, you can taste and smell them, you can feel them in your gut. Which allowed me to be more emotionally invested in the story, which ended up having a strong effect on me by the time I had finished the book. This book was definitely more of a complex experience, to me, than simply a story.
The more I read, and once the story got off the ground, the more I started to love it. The characters felt vivid, stark and real, to me. Which allowed the take-home message to hit home all the stronger:
War is hell. Hatred is stupid. Love is the answer.
If you feel like these simple statements are of any value to you, then read this book. That is all....more
After being very impressed with the field and stream bowhunting guide, I was disappointed with this one. This is not so much a dense, useful, efficienAfter being very impressed with the field and stream bowhunting guide, I was disappointed with this one. This is not so much a dense, useful, efficient manual for turkey hunting as it it a "literary jaunt" of the author. He spends the bulk of the book spouting platitudes and philosophy, which is interesting and I would like to read it perhaps under other circumstances, but it's not what I was looking for in this book....more