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How Coffee Saved My Life: And Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace
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How Coffee Saved My Life: And Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  135 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Based on the author s true life experiences, How Coffee Saved My Life is a funny, tragic, provocative and touching story of a rich, white, North American overachiever who spends a year in Uruguay in hopes of becoming a more responsible and sensitive member of the global community. Throughout the book, vignettes tied to the Spanish language flow from observation to theologi ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published September 9th 2009 by Chalice Press (first published 2009)
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Tad
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Having just come out of a year-long volunteer program similar to her experiences, I can attest to much of what she says in here. She really does a great job of conveying the struggles and challenges inherent in that type of living. Lots of humor but also lots of sadness. Both are an important part of her story and I am glad that she chose to include everything, the good and the bad. It rang very true because of that. Sidenote: I actually met the author way before I read her book and found her to ...more
Mare
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful reminder of how easily we get wrapped up in our lives and think what we are doing is of the upmost importance. It's really quite laughable when you stop and think about it. Ellie keeps it real in these pages and I appreciate her story.
Michele
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An honest, compelling story of Ellie Roscher's internal dialogue and growth during her year of living in South America. Ellie tells the story of how she nurtured and befriended herself during this time in her life. Her story speaks right to my heart.
Cheryl
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: umw-book-list
2013 Education for Mission

At age 25, Ellie Roscher left her pampered life to spend a year in Uruguay. She did not paint a bright and happy picture of her adjustment to the poverty and isolation of her position. Pg. 4 "articulate English > stumbling broken Spanish; eating bagels > cow tongue; having 3 jobs > none; feeling successful/powerful> useless, invisible; surrounded by friends>isolation. By the 2nd half, she had gotten moved to a different family, made connections with other
...more
Kathy
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
This book changed my ideas about missionary work. I always thought of it as something we did for others. This book shows that instead the best missionary work is about what we do for each other. Both sides have the opportunity to change and grow. Also the hard parts can turn out to be where you least expect them.
Kathy Hassig
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for the UMW reading program. The book shows the difference between life here & life in another country (Uraguay). We take so much for granted in this country.
Christine Jones
I read "How Coffee Saved My Life" with the eyes of a well seasoned traveler who has experienced culture shock and knew some of what to expect. This memoir was organized around themes, which I didn't enjoy, with journal entries that were totally out of sync with their place in time.
Miss Roscher presents clear examples of the issues that rise with cross cultural interactions, misunderstandings, culture shock, and losing sight of spiritual purpose before finally finding grace. However, a lot of th
...more
Andrea
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My aunt gave me this book to read and at first I was reluctant because it has this religious bend to it. About a 25 yr old missionary who ended up in Uruguay, I brought it on vacation with me... I knew i had to read it before giving back to her, why not at the beach? I plowed through this 2-days. Yes, an easy read but it so incredibly paralleled my experience in Paraguay it was uncanny. Although a mission of a different sort (Colby and mine doing eco-reseach), I could so relate to the feelings o ...more
Beckie
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
I liked the idea of "How Coffee Saved My Life," a collection of journal entries and reflections on a young woman's time in Uruguay with the Lutheran Church. But I did not much like the book itself. The book is organized by themes more than chronology, but it's not written quite well enough for this to work. Ellie Roscher jumps from story to topic to story to topic without leaving the reader time to catch her breath. And each (short) chapter begins with a quotation- more than a few also end with ...more
Deb
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book chronicles one year in Ellie Roscher's life spent as a missionary in Uruguay. She was shockingly open and honest about her physical and emotional struggles there; she candy-coated nothing. I found this to be both enticing and off-putting. There were times when she whined. A LOT. Yet, it would not have been as authentic a story without including the many moments of self-pity and loneliness, and frankly, until I have volunteered to spend a full year in a tiny, rural South American town w ...more
Beth
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This book is about a young women's journey to Uruguay which leads to, as most stories of this type mine own included, a deep understanding into self. There were so many parallels to both my Peace Corps and Exchange Student experience it was uncany. I certainly was not as self-destructive as she was but my pain at the stress of being so far from home and lonely and misunderstood certainly is mirrored in her journey. I would definitely recommend this boo for people searching for self, about to tra ...more
Glynis
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
An interesting read. We read this for our church's book club and we all agreed that living as a foreigner in a foreign would certainly give one a new perspective on our American culture, for good or bad. I would recommend it to those considering embarking on a long-term mission trip. I also think the way the book was written--small vignettes with wonderful quotes from famous thinkers.

Asha Jaffar
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ellie Is an incredibly talented writer! I was awe-struck by her tenacity, courage, and will to continue even when things were hard. She is an epitome of courage! I love her! Looking forward to reading more.. you are an insanely gifted writer!
Heather
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellie starts off slow and perhaps a little preachy. The second half of the book is better.
Micki
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful stories to make us think of how we stand in the world. Excellent footnotes of quotes from others.
Linda Gocha
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another United Methodist Women's book for their reading program and I really liked it.
Brit Barkholtz
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Awesome book by an amazing Gustie! Very fulfilling indeed.
Clarissa
Honestly, it was kind of depressing for a while but I'm happy I read it. It's a good reminder to count my blessings! I really liked all the quotes she included that started each chapter.
Trish
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book, quite perceptive insights from a young person experiencing such a different culture from her own. Great quotes thruout the book.

Jonathan
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great introduction to missionary life and the deeper theological reflection that comes with it.
Michelle
I have some issues with this book but it is still well written
Beth Olson shultz
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that I read for book club. A young woman's story of going on a one year mission trip to Uruguay. Really puts life in perspective.
Karen
rated it it was amazing
Aug 02, 2011
Susan
rated it it was ok
Jul 15, 2014
Miranda Rusnica
rated it liked it
Feb 12, 2018
Paul
rated it liked it
May 15, 2010
Sharon Royle
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir of a young woman who has had a great life with few challenges. She decides that she needs some challenges to make herself a more interesting person. She picks an organization that facilitates people living in a foreign country for a year and filling a necessary job in that country. She ends up in Uruguay and despite 2 weeks of orientation in the US, she ends up in a very difficult situation. She keeps a diary so we learn of her daily challenges of language (she did take Spanish ...more
Claudia
rated it it was ok
Dec 20, 2013
Gayle
rated it it was amazing
Apr 25, 2011
Carol
rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2013
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Ellie Roscher is the author of How Coffee Saved My Life, and Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace. She also edits the Keeping the Faith series: Keeping the Faith in Seminary, Keeping Faith in Rabbis and Keeping the Faith in Education. Ellie holds a master's degree in Theology/Urban Ministry from Luther Seminary and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.
More about Ellie Roscher