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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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,934 Ratings  ·  396 Reviews
A novel of tragedy and hope set in AIDS-torn Ethiopia. When Haregwoin Teferra’s husband and daughter died within a few years of each other, her life is shattered and she becomes a recluse. But then a priest delivers an orphan to her door. The another, and another... and together they thrive.

The distinguished author of Praying for Sheetrock and two-time National Book award
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2006)
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Feb 01, 2011 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 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
Mar 05, 2008 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 23, 2012 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
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Aug 24, 2009 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
Jun 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
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
Mar 17, 2010 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.
Eileen Souza
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
Justine Olawsky
Sep 18, 2013 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
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
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
Sep 27, 2008 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
Sep 16, 2011 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
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Kadee
Shelves: non-fiction
I am reminded of Fred Rogers' quote, when bad things are happening "to look for the helpers."

I am having a really hard time writing my thoughts. I am appalled and discouraged, but also hopeful and inspired. This book was like Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide for me: educational in a way that I didn't even know I needed and a scathing indictment of big government, greed, big corporations, and Big Pharma, and some of the worst aspects of humanity.

At the same ti
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa, nook-lendable
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
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa
Like some other readers, I was a little disappointed by some of Greene's more obvious emotional manipulations. Also, I was little annoyed that she didn't really reveal her own involvement in the story, beyond just that of a journalist, until at least halfway through the book. She spends more time than really makes sense defending herself against the claim of having failed to meet Haregewoin at the airport, which makes me wonder what else about their relationship she hasn't revealed. Overall,the ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
You will feel changed after reading this book. I absolutely loved it. Greene is a wonderful writer and has the ability to express a point in one sentence that many writers would take pages to tackle.

The story she tells is such an important one--what happens to the millions of children orphaned by the AIDS crisis? For some of them, they come to call Haregewoin Taffera's compound home. As Greene says, "In a world without people try to be a person. And Haregewoin tried."

A beautiful book.
Dec 17, 2008 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.
Jan 26, 2015 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.
Nov 30, 2007 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).
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I always have found Melissa Fay Greene to be an exceptional writer. This book also outlines how much she lives exceptionally, too. Once you read this, please read her more current No Biking in the House Without A Helmet.
Jul 21, 2009 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.
Dec 20, 2009 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.
Margaret Assany
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably going to be the most important book I've read in 2018. If it isn't, then it'll definitely be in the top 3. It's heartwarming, heart-breaking, beautiful, and horrendous. I'll admit that I talked to myself throughout listening to the (incredibly narrated) audiobook, saying things like "Are you kidding me?!" and "This is unbelievable."

I don't think I read the blurb closely enough when I bought it. I imagined it was going to be a memoir about a rich, self-righteous white American as
Sep 28, 2017 marked it as to-read
After watching her daughter die of cancer in 1998, a middle-class Ethiopian woman names Haregewoin Teferra nearly lost the will to live. Then a local priest begged her to take in a teenager whose parents had died of AIDS. That was just the beginning. Over time, Teferra opened her modest home to hundreds of orphans, despite the huge stigma attached to anyone associated with the "skinny disease," as AIDS was called there. Greene's nuanced portrait of this heroine places Teferra at the center of a ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Journalist Melissa Greene tells of the history of AIDS and its devestating effects in Africa, and one woman's inspiring effort to give her all to the orphans left in its wake. Haregewoin Teferra lost her husband and a daughter and became a depressed recluse until she was asked to take in an orphan, and then another. As she opened her heart and her home, she was able to not only save the lives of countless orphans, but help heal her heart as well. I appreciated learning about the history and poli ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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, 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 tru
Constance Chevalier
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading how this Ethiopian woman fell into saving hundreds of orphans during the time of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but I needed a break from all the sad stories. Upon picking the book up again, things in her life take a change for the better: she finds many European couples want to adopt Ethiopian orphans. There's a lot of history about the country, the disease, and Haregewoin Teferra.
Krista Greer
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-books
The right amount of facts cut with the right amount of heart. Solid 4.5 stars
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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
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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
“In the Pirkei Avoth, the Jewish ethical compendium from the third century, it is written, "In a place with no people, try to be a person" (2:6).” 0 likes
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