There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children

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Overview

Two-time National Book Award nominee Melissa Fay Greene puts a human face on the African AIDS crisis with this powerful story of one woman working to save her country's children. After losing her husband and daughter, Haregewoin Teferra, an Ethiopian woman of modest means, opened her home to some of the thousands of children in Addis Ababa who have been left as orphans. There Is No Me Without You is the story of how Haregewoin transformed her home into an orphanage and day-care center and began facilitating ...

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There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children

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Overview

Two-time National Book Award nominee Melissa Fay Greene puts a human face on the African AIDS crisis with this powerful story of one woman working to save her country's children. After losing her husband and daughter, Haregewoin Teferra, an Ethiopian woman of modest means, opened her home to some of the thousands of children in Addis Ababa who have been left as orphans. There Is No Me Without You is the story of how Haregewoin transformed her home into an orphanage and day-care center and began facilitating adoptions to homes all over the world, written by a star of literary nonfiction who is herself an adoptive parent. At heart, it is a book about children and parents, wherever they may be, however they may find each other. Winner of Elle magazine's 2006 readers' award in nonfiction.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In a culture where AIDS orphans are viewed as trendy celebrity "accessories," it's easy to lose sight of the real heroes in the battle against this devastating disease. Journalist Melissa Fay Greene reminds us in this wonderful story of Haregewoin Tefarra, a middle-class Ethiopian woman who overcame her own tragic loss by opening her heart and home to hundreds of orphaned children. Illuminating Tefarra's remarkable transformation from widow and grieving parent to zealous child advocate, Greene deftly weaves in dozens of heartbreaking vignettes; the tragic -- and infuriating -- cultural history of AIDS in Africa; and her own personal connection to the crisis (she and her husband have adopted two Ethiopian orphans). She accomplishes all this in a powerful, impassioned narrative that also happens to be gracefully, lyrically, and beautifully told. Could we ask for more?
From the Publisher

"Greene's nuanced portrait of this heroine places Teferra at the center of a global crisis but never loses its focus on the innocent victims."--People (four stars, Critic's Choice)

"A powerful story--by turns sad, politically infuriating, and inspiring--and Greene brings her formidable intelligence and eloquence to the telling. Grade: A"-- Entertainment Weekly (EW Pick)

"Elegant and profoundly evocative writing…as much a call-to-arms as a narrative account of one woman's struggle to fight the disease."--Washington Post

"A truly inspiring book…gripping and heartfelt…This is a story not to be missed."--Christian Science Monitor

"A deeply personal chronicle of human suffering and sinister global politics…featuring orphaned children and devoted adults whose courage will inspire even the most skeptical."--Chicago Tribune

Publishers Weekly
Lawrence's sincere and emphatic rendering of Greene's words only add to the hopeful yet solemn tone throughout this tale of Haregewoin Teferra, a woman who turned her compound into a home for children with or orphaned by AIDS. Greene keenly connects the broad histories of African colonization, Ethiopia's political changes and AIDS with the personal lives of Ethiopians and most AIDS victims in the Third World. She covers a wide range of topics including profiles of the many children who come to stay with Teferra, contemporary debates about the origin of AIDS and the social effect AIDS has on Ethiopia in terms of production and stability. With so many avenues, some narrators might become inconsistent or incapable of handling redirection, but Lawrence fluctuates her voice according to the need of the text. Lawrence segues unhesitatingly whether using a more reserved and tempered voice for the historical insertions, emphasizing particular words in a definition or relaying a bemusing story about a child. Music at the end of each CD prepares listeners for the change, but it's Lawrence who creates the mood and atmosphere. Simultaneous release with the Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, July 17). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Greene here relates the plight of AIDS-stricken families in Ethiopia, which has one of the highest levels of infection on the continent. The disease carries a strong social stigma as well. Children orphaned by the disease have virtually no chance of being adopted or cared for in their home country. Through happenstance, Haregewoin Teferra, a widow, ends up running an unofficial orphanage and day school out of her home in Addis Ababa for children left homeless by this pandemic. The author alternates the very human story of Teferra and her big heart with history and facts about Ethiopia and the critical issue of AIDS in Africa. Greene (The Temple Bombing), the adoptive parent of two Ethiopian children, tells a story that deserves a wide audience. The narration by actress Julie Fain Lawrence is smooth and satisfying; highly recommended for all public libraries.
—Karen Fauls-Traynor Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596912939
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 255,029
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 5.62 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Fay Greene

Melissa Fay Greene is the author of Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing, and Last Man Out. Two of her books have been finalists for the National Book Award. She has written for the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, Life, Reader's Digest, Redbook, Salon, and others. She and her husband, Don Samuel, have seven children, including two adopted from Ethiopia, and are in the process of adopting two more. She lives in Atlanta.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006

    a reviewer

    This book really touched me. Americans really have no clue how huge the AIDS orphan problem is in Africa. This book tells not only one woman's story of how she took in countless orphans, but the story of Ethiopia and the epidemic that is only getting worse day by day. The U.S. is falling miserably as a relatively rich nation to help Africa gain the resources it needs to combat AIDS and extreme poverty. This book gives both sides of the story: a personal story of one woman, and statistics and history about Ethiopia and its struggle with AIDS.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    It is a "difficult read" because of what it is about but is well worth it. It is very "eye opening"!

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    an absolutely amazing book, a must read

    This book will make you cry and change the way you look at your life. I have 2 adopted girls from Ethiopia, so it meant even more to me. However, whether you are adopting or not, this is a touching book, well written and thought provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    Great mix of history along with a wonderful story

    This is an excellent book. I sent it to family members (after reading it myself) to help them understand our decision to adopt from a developing country. While we ended up adopting from Haiti, this is an excellent book describing orphans in poverty striken nations.

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  • Posted January 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing book, amazing story!

    Not enough can be written about this book. Very well written and thought provoking!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2007

    One woman' story

    A story that needs to be told and Greene tells it well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    Inspires you to action

    It seems impossible for anyone with children (or a heart) to read this book and not feel a need to DO SOMETHING! Although foreign adoption is financially out of reach for most Americans, making a difference in the life of a foster child or neglected child is not. Readers should also be pushed to ask their government why they are letting pharmaceutical companies continue to stand in the way of providing universal, affordable access to antiretrovirals. READ THIS BOOK.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A REMINDER OF THE GENEROSITY OF THE HUMAN HEART

    Haregewoin Teferra's story is precisely what the world needs to hear - a powerful reminder that one person can make a difference. As read by voice performer Julie Fain Lawrence this story is straightforward and true. While it would have been easy for the actress to lapse into sentimentality she never does so, speaking strongly, courageously, which certainly befits the life of Haregewoin. A resident of Ethiopia, Haregewoin was devastated when she lost both her husband and her 23-year-old daughter within the space of five years. How does one react when everything in life they hold dear is taken from them? She became a recluse, isolating herself in a tin walled compound close to her daughter's grave. It was as if there was nothing on earth left for her and she was simply waiting to die. All of this changed when a priest brought a teenager, orphaned by the horrifying AIDS pandemic that is sweeping their country, to Haregewoin. Then he brought another. As she began to care for these young ones her life changed and so did theirs. It didn't take long before it was known that Haregewoin offered a haven for the lost - a baby was left at her doorstep, a grandfather gave up grandchildren he could not afford to feed, a young boy whose mother had died and whose father was terminally ill. Soon, there were sixty children in her care. A mighty task for a middle-aged 4' 8' tall woman. Yet she rose to it and more - she did so gladly, heroically. Yes, this is a tragic story in many ways but it is also a hopeful one, a reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit and the generosity of the human heart. - Gail Cooke

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