Melinda Atwood danced professionally, won awards for her choreography, and directed and produced musical theater before she began writing. A graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, Ms. Atwood has served on the boards of the Self Family Arts Center, the Juggernaut Theater Company, and the Elizabeth Foundation. Mother of a grown son, she is married and living in New York City where she works in the Off-Broadway theater. Melinda Atwood has traveled the world, but her six-year African sojourn inspired her to write Jambo,Mama.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
What People are Saying About This
"I have read faithfully every chapter as it has been put online. It's biting sense of humor keeps me howling."
"Thank you for letting me live my dreams through you."
"We'll be in Nairobi, our next posting, for three years. Your writing is making our move there easier. We love the details." (Bruce Nelson, U.S. Department of State)
"A must read for anyone traveling to Kenya."
"Anyone who has lived in Kenya will shout with recognition at Melinda Atwood's evocative memoir. Her account is so vivid you can smell Kenya, it's people, it's wildlife, and it's frustrations. Her story will make you want to drop everything and go to Africa." (Linda Donelson, author of Out of Isak Dinesen)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Speaking first from a technical standpoint, I found Atwood's story to be mediocre at best. There wasn't much meat or substance to it, she had no distinct style to speak of and, while I read her words, I felt absolutely no passion behind them. Likewise, there was simply never enough detail or elaboration to any of her anecdotes. One of the first things one learns about creative writing is to show, not tell. Unfortunately, even with such a rich canvas as Africa, this is not Atwood's strong suit.As for the actual story; I found her to be quite whiny, needy and self-centered for the majority of the time, behaving every bit the quintessential American better-than-you tourist. In addition, it is absolutely unfathomable to me that she could spend SIX years in Kenya and not make a single friend outside of the people whom she employed as servants or the handful of men she bedded. She spoke of being eternally bored, however, there was never any indication that she attempted to come out of the cushy Westernized compound that she created for herself in order to befriend, or even simply experience the real people of Kenya. In my opinion, the author felt that, once arriving in (her greatly romanticized) Ah-frica the intrigue and adventure would all just fall into her lap instead of actually going out and living this life that she so sorely seemed to want. One has to give her props for actually getting up and going in the first place, however, much like a toddler with a Rubik's Cube, she didn't really know what to do with it when she got there.For all intents and purposes, Atwood's tale is a rather insipid account of what she wanted her life in Ah-frica to be but never got around to.This book is not for those who have a love for Kenya (warts and all) that runs beyond the stereotypical western view. If you know anything at all about Kenya, it's people and it's customs you'll be sorely disappointed with such a sanitized account of a New York Diva's Extended Safari!
Jambo Mama is the life story of a woman's move to Kenya. Melinda Atwood's story gives an incredible description of the physical place of Kenya and left me feeling I could walk down the street and recognize every scene she described. However, it is the poignant sharing of her own emotional processing of the move that allows the reader insight into the pilgrimage not only of physical space but also of the soul. Her struggles and triumphs are reflected in her strong style of storytelling and the audience is swept along listening to Melinda's generous sharing of her spirit. I finished the book missing the land of Kenya but also the emotional connection to the author's life.
I discovered Jambo,Mama while looking for books on Africa, particularly Kenya, and was lured by the fact that Ms. Atwood moved to this land on her own, and made a life for herself there for six years. While other memoires have been written, I found only Ms. Atwood's to give the finer-most details of what it is like to live, and make a living, in Kenya. From dealing with daily power outages and driving the pot-hole filled roads, to building a home and establishing a business. She tells of her almost ever-present loneliness, and the friendships forged with both her house staff and factory empolyees. Then there's the beauty of Africa, seen through her eyes, the adventure, danger, and even romance of safari, and also an unbelievable encounter with mountain gorillas. I literally could not put this book down, and found myself laughing out loud at the often humorous situations she found herself in, and deeply touched by the tragic loss of people with whom she had become friends. A vivid account of both land and life, Jambo,Mama will not disappoint!
Have you ever dreamed of picking up and moving to another land, leaving your humdrum life behind? Melinda Atwood did exactly that, spending many years living in Kenya very near where the famous Blixen (OUT OF AFRICA) lived. Her memoir is wonderfully revealing and entertaining, a celebration of her life in 'Ahfrica.' As Dorothy said of Oz, it wasn't all very nice...but Melinda calls it as she saw it, warts and all. She is truely a remarkable woman who met every challenge thrown at her with strength and humor and her story is an inspiration to all.