Beth's Reviews > Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope

Our Kind of People by Uzodinma Iweala
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's review
Aug 20, 2012

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Read from August 12 to 20, 2012

Our Kind of People left me in a hard place when it came to this review. On the one hand, what it has to say about the ignorance of people who assume/believe that an HIV diagnosis is an automatic death sentence is important to hear. Many in Africa still hide from their family, friends and neighbors until they die because of the shame and the stigma. However, there are those who are proclaiming their positive status, hoping that others will begin to understand that knowledge is power, and that the sense of community so important to the African people is even more so for those diagnosed with the disease. In the stories of those with first-hand knowledge, this book is invaluable and eye-opening.

On the other hand, the book seems unevenly written and much feels repeated throughout. The dialogue, while interesting and honest, also occasionally feels like there is too much - it seems to detract at times rather than help. The book, already fairly small and with large type, could have done with more editing - either a smaller book or other topics introduced to keep the size.

Having said all that, I do believe that this is an important conversation to be having. He is spot on when he discusses the fact that while AIDS in places like the US has been fairly stable for years, Africa is just now getting a handle on it. He is also correct in shining a light on the fact that the treatments are so expensive, and yet there is little in place to help those poorest and neediest get the medicine they need. And he makes a valuable point that is valid of ALL patients everywhere - AIDS is a disease, not an identity. It's a valuable and worthy book, but with some writing flaws that tend to take away from the important message the book conveys.

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