“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 storyby turns sad, politically infuriating, and inspiringand 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
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?
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.
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