Phayvanh's Reviews > Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
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bookshelves: reviews, 2008, reportage, book-group
Recommended to Phayvanh by: Eric
Recommended for: peace workers

I borrowed this book, having heard the story of it, and knowing that other people I knew were/had been reading this book. And I'm returning it so it may be passed along.

The premise is great, an inspiring story, whether real or not, and one I'd love to continue to know about. My main problem with the book is the storytelling, how it abruptly snaps back and forth in place and time so that I am not always sure where the scene is taking place or when until fully into the scene. And some scenes are left completely hanging at the end of a chapter only to be dealt with later, almost as an after thought.

It would have been far better to read and understand if presented in a more linear fashion, although David Oliver Relin did address the time/place conintuum problem in the intro. There are a lot of missing dates, such that by the end of the book, I was still unsure as to how long it took for the first school to get built.

But you keep reading ( or I did, at least) because the story is full of hope and frustration, and you really want the best of everybody, even the conivvers. But Relin's verbose prose keeps tripping you up:

...burned fuselages lay like the decomposing carcasses of whales along the cratered runway...

Besides, how many times can he emphasize just how magnificent the view of K2 is? Or how treacherous a journey every journey was? Puleeze.

In the end, one hopes for the best of all involved and is encourages that the work will continue. I'd rather knwo this story though from watching a TV movie or reading some expanded Sunday story in the New York Times Magazine rather than this book.

Also, the other thing that bugged me in this book is how the author describes the "people" of Pakistan, which I do take some offense at, just lumping them into a sort of stereotypical group like that. Talking about their gentle, simple ways, etc. Even though, admittedly, he does go on to illustrate the extreme kindness of the Pakistanis involved, I still bristle at any sort of generalisations from outsiders. And the OTHER thing that also began to wear by the end of the book was how EVERY woman was beautiful, or at least, as Greg Mortenson saw them--village women, his future wife, Senator Mary Bono. Not beautiful in that spiritual way, but physically, a little too much so.
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Reading Progress

December 27, 2007 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
January 5, 2008 – Shelved as: reviews
January 7, 2008 – Shelved as: 2008
January 7, 2008 – Shelved as: reportage
May 23, 2008 – Shelved as: book-group

Comments (showing 1-2)

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Gina I just started the book and admit I've been tripping up over a few awkward sentences here and there already (on pg 27). Can't wait until I get to the sentence you quoted! That is hilarious!

Phayvanh Gina, would love to hear your thoughts on the book if you've finished.

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