The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas

lost-daughter-of-indiaAbout the Book

When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.

Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.

Ten years later …

Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.
Review

I have always liked India. I think it is a country with very rich culture and so it has always intrigued me. This is part of the reason as to why I decided to get this book. I also liked the cover due to the pretty, little girl. The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas begins with the story of Kamal and Caroline long before they met. The two live in very different worlds. However, fate sought of brings them together and they start a relationship that nobody in their families supported. Soon the couple gets married and then they have Asha but things don’t quite work out so well.

This book focuses on so many different themes through which we get to know the characters. Kamal and Caroline are not really the best parents at first. They both had their own issues and in a way, Asha didn’t seem to be a priority. I especially found myself judging Caroline although sometimes I sympathized with her. I can’t imagine how hard it is to move to a new country with a different culture, language and far from the life and people that one is used to. Nevertheless, I didn’t quite agree with her decision to leave her daughter. On the other hand, I liked Kamal and was more sympathetic to him.

The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas is not an easy to book to read. Through the pages, we get to learn about human trafficking and child prostitution. The stories of these little girls and boys were so heartbreaking. It is hard to imagine that such things happen but it’s a sad reality. Although this is fiction, the book is inspired by reality. I was particularly shocked to find out that one of the scariest stories involving a child prostitute was actually inspired by real events. I mean, what is wrong with society? What kind of a human being does that to a fellow human being?

The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas is a sad but necessary story. It tackles some really heavy themes that need to be addressed and maybe one of the ways to do this is by creating awareness about them. There are a few things about that book that I didn’t really like. There were some aspects of the narration that were just a bit too dramatic especially around the conflict resolution. However, this doesn’t change how I felt about the book. I enjoyed the cultural nuances; arranged marriages, housing, food and languages. The writing was also quite beautiful, poignant and I like the fact that the book had multiple narrators including young Asha. I also like the fact that the author’s note explained not only her motivation for writing this book but also the real situation surrounding the main themes. This is my first book by Sharon Maas and it definitely won’t be the last one.

 

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin

 trayvonn-martinAbout the Book

 Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.

On a February evening in 2012, in a small town in central Florida, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking home with candy and a can of juice in hand and talking on the phone with a friend when a fatal encounter with a gun-wielding neighborhood watchman ended his young life. The watchman was briefly detained by the police and released. Trayvon s father a truck driver named Tracy tried to get answers from the police but was shut down and ignored. Trayvon s mother, a civil servant for the city of Miami, was paralyzed by the news of her son s death and lost in mourning, unable to leave her room for days. But in a matter of weeks, their son’s name would be spoken by President Obama, honored by professional athletes, and passionately discussed all over traditional and social media. And at the head of a growing nationwide campaign for justice were Trayvon s parents, who driven by their intense love for their lost son discovered their voices, gathered allies, and launched a movement that would change the country.

Five years after his tragic death, Travyon Martin s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade?

Review

Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin tells the heartbreaking story of their 17 year old, murdered son. I think everyone in the world has heard about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. I remember hearing about hit right after it happened. The international media covered it though I didn’t get to know about the facts about the case but I definitely knew the name Trayvon Martin.

The book begins with background stories on Sybrina and Tracy. We get to learn about how they met all the way to Trayvon’s birth. Through the pages, we also get to learn about the events that took place on that day when the young man’s life was violently ended just a few meters from his house. The story is narrated is through the two POV’s and this made it even tougher to read because as a reader, I experienced the two narrator’s grief. I can’t even imagine just how much pain his parents went through.  I learned about how they found out about their son’s death and how their worlds were shattered in one evening.

One thing that struck as being odd is how the police broke the news to Tracy. Trayvon’s dad had filed a missing person’s report after Trayvon failed to come back home after going to the store. The police then came over and showed him a photo of his son lying dead on the grass and asked him to make identification. I can’t even imagine what he went through at that moment. This just felt wrong. I don’t know the procedures followed there but that must have been devastating. I was also angered by the focus on the victim during the investigation. A young man is killed and the investigation starts with a background check to establish whether he has a criminal past? Yes, the victim and not the shooter.Why? The character assassination was devastating to his parents. There were a lot of heartbreaking incidents throughout the book.

220px-trayvon_martin_shooting_protest_2012_shankbone_11

Tracy, the lawyer and Sybrina during the Million Hoodie march.

The marches, protests, media campaigns following the death of Trayvon are covered through the chapters. Through it all, we get to learn about his parents fight for justice even as they went through the devastation of having lost their son. The book gives detailed insight into the trial in the final chapters. The part that stood out the most for me was about Rachel’s testimony. She was Trayvon’s friend who was the last person that he spoke to before he died. He was actually on the phone with her when he got killed. I felt sorry for Rachel especially when I went online and read the comments that people made about her after the trial.

There is a lot that I can say about this book but I think it would be better if you read it yourself.  I definitely recommend Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin to everyone.

 Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers, for the first time, questions from the most intimate of sources. It is the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning.

 

WWW Wednesday #January 25th

This meme is currently hosted by Sam @Taking on a World of Words

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

trayvonn-martinRecently Finished

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin

Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin is the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning.

 

Currently Reading

lost-daughter-of-india

The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas– I started reading this book on Monday. It is beautifully written although the story is quite sad with some really heavy themes. I like the setting though. I will post my review maybe by the end of the week.

 

Reading Next

thesis

I have to take a short break(a few days or a week) from reading and blogging to focus on my thesis. I am currently working on Chapter 2, Literature Review which is really engaging with lots of research and reading so I will not pick any other book until I complete this chapter. Until then, Happy Reading!

The Whistler by John Grisham

whistlerAbout the Book

We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

Review

This is one of the books that my book club decided to read this month. Needless to say, as a Grisham fan, I was delighted by the decision. In The Whistler, Grisham takes on a new case whereby a corrupt judge is being investigated by the Board on Judicial Conduct. Heading the investigation is Lacy who takes on the case assisted by her partner, Hugo.

This book had all the makings of a suspenseful legal thriller. At the heart of the story is the anonymous informer known to the investigators as Greg Myers. Myers is mysterious. He works with an alias, lives on a boat and operates with a number of dispensable phones. He is the one who with all the information concerning the judge. In addition, he also works with an intermediary and the whistle-blower. All these characters have hidden identities not known to readers or the investigators.

I really liked the two investigators and their friendship. Their banter and relationship outside work made this quite an interesting read. Other characters that stood out include Lacy’s brother, Gunther and her boss, Geismar. I also liked Greg despite his shiftiness.

What we liked…

Most of the Literary Gems (the members of my book club also known as the gangsters) agreed that the story was interesting. They liked the angle of Indians and the casinos, the Coast Mafia and the whole money laundering story-line. They also liked Hugo, one of the lead investigators. Other members really liked Gunther. Although, this character is controversial (I didn’t like him).

What we didn’t like much….

I think that most of us agreed that the ending was rushed. The story builds up slowly and suddenly, so many things happen very fast and the epilogue ended up being too lengthy trying to wrap-up things.

There are members who felt like characterization was a bit weak (I didn’t think so). It was hard to really connect with most of the characters. However, I think this is usual in most legal thrillers that tend to be more plot-driven than character-driven.

I had an issue with the portrayal of Hugo, the seemingly only black character in the book. I felt like his race kept on being unnecessary brought up and his character was based on a number of stereotypes (again, I was the only one with this view).

What I think…

As I already mentioned, I do love legal thrillers especially by John Grisham. However, The Whistler is not one of my favourite titles by the author. I enjoyed the fact that the author did something different by focusing on an investigation about the judge as opposed to the usual court-room drama common in his books. However, I don’t think that this book was thrilling like his other titles such as The Rogue Lawyer so I ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. That said, I can’t wait to read his next book.

Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1) by Carol Wyer

 

little-girl-lostAbout the Book

A perfect family hiding disturbing secrets. A killer who wants the truth to be told.

A teacher goes missing under suspicious circumstances.
A millionaire is murdered at a local reservoir.
For Detective Robyn Carter, there’s no obvious link between the men. But as she starts to delve into the cases, her investigations lead her to Abigail, perfect wife and mother to beautiful little Izzy. What was Abigail’s connection to the victims? And why is she receiving threatening messages from an anonymous number?

But as Robyn starts to inch closer to finding the killer, Izzy is abducted.

Review

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer begins with a really disturbing prologue. However, the writing was so good so I decided to move forward and see how the story goes although honestly, the prologue made me ish ish .  Soon after the prologue, we get to meet Robyn Carter, a former police officer,  working as a Private Investigator. I liked her character immediately. The author gave a background story which made her even more likable and relatable. Robyn is just about to go back to her job as a cop when she gets a missing persons case. The person who filed the report doesn’t want to deal with cops yet and so she went to the PI to look for her missing loved one.  This is where it all begins. Soon, we get to learn that there is a killer on the loose and it seems like everyone is at risk.

The story is narrated through multiple view points. I found each voice to be quite unique hence easy to differentiate so the narrations didn’t confuse me. I also like the fact that the villain is one of the narrators and that they use two timelines for the POV. The flashbacks helped in explaining the motives for the crimes.

At first, it was hard to guess how all the characters were connected. On one hand, there is Abigail, a new mom who is being harassed by an anonymous person. Through other chapters, we have the villain and then the detective. The serial killer’s MO is also sort of haphazard so it seems like some of the victims are not even related. I think not knowing the connection is what made this such a riveting read. I couldn’t guess what the link was until the last chapters of the book when everything started falling into place.

The book has everything that makes a thriller great. There are secrets, twists and turns, lies, unsolved murders and a lot of suspicious characters (and unsub who is one of the narrators). Some of the themes and scenes introduced in the book are quite heavy such as what I alluded to  in the prologue. However, what stood out the most for me was the writing. Wyer has such a beautiful, flawless way of describing characters and scenes. I usually struggle with cop procedural novels and multiple POVs but this time, I just didn’t. Her writing style is captivating and it made me get hooked to the story.  I was able to guess some of the major twists towards the end but the writing still had me eagerly turning pages in an effort to confirm my suspicions.I can’t wait to for the next book in the series!

Tangle of Strings (Sweeney Sisters #4) by Ashley Farley

tangle-of-stringsAbout the Book

 A nearly tragic accident leads to a discovery that rocks the Sweeney family’s world

Some families never resolve conflicts. Not so with the Sweeneys. Their sense of family, their love for one another, and their willingness to forgive have always triumphed and brought them back together. Until now. The latest crisis threatens to tear the family apart and crumble the foundation that has always proved itself rock solid.

At the heart of the matter are sixteen-year-old Annie Bethune and her boyfriend, Cooper. At stake are their dreams for the future. As to these dreams, no one in the family holds back when asserting an opinion.

Annie soon begins to feel like a puppet on strings with all those she loves telling her what to do. When those strings become tangled and a family feud develops, Annie, unable to bear the pressure, runs away. Straight into the arms of danger.

Review

This was a cover pick for me. I like converse shoes and own a few pairs in different of colors. There is history and symbolism associated with these shoes but that is a story for another day and no, this is not a book about converse shoes. Anyway, Tangle of Strings by Ashley Farley is an issue-based Young Adult fiction.

The story begins with an accident taking place. Annie is involved in the accident and it is through this incident that her family is introduced to readers. Although I haven’t read the other books in the series, I was able to quickly catch up on the relationship dynamics.

The book deals with quite heavy themes. One that really stood out is the issue of teenage pregnancy. Through the characters, readers get to see how this issue affects different people. The teens involved are overwhelmed with the decisions ahead of them. However, even more overwhelming is the response by adults around them. Everyone has their own opinion based on their beliefs and this provides a very tough environment for the already scared teens. It was informative to see how different characters handled the situation. I think the author provided a very realistic outlook of this issue. It’s a story that most readers are familiar with. This book made me think about the teen moms that I know and what they may have gone through.

I found myself judging the characters based on how they reacted to different situations. Annie and Cooper was such a cute, strong couple and I loved how mature they were in handling their situation. I can’t say much about the other characters without revealing too many details but I’ll just say that the characterization is one of the things that I liked most about this book.

The book had a few surprises along the way. There were a number of conflicts that I possibly couldn’t have predicted. I am still not sure exactly how I feel about this though. Usually I like twists but for this story, an action-filled twist was a bit out there. That is the only niggle that I have about this book although it is not a major one.

I recommend Tangle of Strings by Ashley Farley to all fans of issue-based YAs.

WWW-Wednesday #January 18th

This meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

Recently Finished

out-of-bounds

 

Out of Bounds by Val McDermid- I think that this book will appeal to lovers of police procedural. It is more character-driven than plot-driven hence the pace is not too fast. However, the characters are so well-developed that it was easy to become immersed in their story. The investigation is explained in detailed and as readers, we get to understand how every case was solved. I also like the fact that the detectives relied on evidence and forensics to solve the cases and not on pure instincts like in some cop procedural/thrillers.  The book was also so well researched that I ended up learning a number of new things. For instance; I didn’t know much about the laws concerning adoptions.  You can read my review here.

 

good-me-bad-me

 

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land is not your usual fast-paced thriller. It’s the kind of book where the tension slowly builds through each page. I was fascinated by the narrative although for the first time, I read the book with a feeling of uneasiness and dread all the way to the last page. I have never been this nervous or chilled by the actions of characters. Here is my review.

 

 

Currently Reading

little-girl-lost

 

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer

I started reading this book yesterday. The prologue made me feel uncomfortable due the theme that was introduced. However, the first few chapters are interesting so I can’t wait to see how the story goes.

 

 

Reading Next

lost-daughter-of-indiaThe Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas

I picked this book because of the title and also the beautiful cover. I haven’t read many books set in India but I am intrigued by the country and the culture of the people so I can’t wait to read this.

About the Book

When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.

Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.

Ten years later …

Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

good-me-bad-meAbout the Book

‘NEW N A M E .
NEW F A M I L Y.
S H I N Y.
NEW.
ME . ‘

Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.

Review

I just turned the last page of this book about an hour ago and the only thing on my mind right now is, What the F* did I just read? I will try and explain my feelings about the book while I still remember all the details.

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land is a story about Milly/Annie, a fifteen year old girl with a dark past. Milly’s mother is a serial killer just about to go on trial. The interesting/sad thing is that Milly had to be the one to turn her in. This makes her the key witness in her mother’s trial. While awaiting trial, Milly is placed in the Newton’s home where she meets her foster family, Mike, Saskia and their daughter, Phoebe. It soon becomes evident that Milly’s nightmares are far from over. Living with a serial killer as a mother was torturous but the nightmare continues as she adjusts to a new life and is also forced to answer questions about her own identity.

The story is narrated by Milly as undergoes a number of challenges. Settling in a new family and especially a new school is difficult. It is never easy being the new kid especially when others are not so accepting. Milly is also haunted by her mother and the victims of her crimes who she still hears and sees. In addition she is also conflicted by her feelings for her mother.

My feelings about Milly changed from chapter to chapter. I found myself empathizing with her especially as she struggled to fit in her new environment. At other times, I was afraid of her, wondering if she may have been influenced by her mom.

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land is not your usual fast-paced thriller. It’s the kind of book where the tension slowly builds through each page. I was fascinated by the narrative although for the first time, I read the book with a feeling of uneasiness and dread all the way to the last page. I have never been this nervous or chilled by the actions of characters.

This is the kind of book that can be considered as thought provoking because questions of nature versus nurture come up throughout the narrative. Does evil beget evil? There is a Swahili saying; ‘Mtoto Wa Nyoka ni Nyoka’ . Loosely translated, this means that snakes give birth to snakes. How true is this? I found myself thinking about this as I read Milly’s narration and I didn’t get the answers in this case until the final chapter. The ending of this book is just as chilling as the rest of it. It left me feeling unsettled. I am pretty sure that this is one book that I will be thinking about for a while.

Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie #4) by Val McDermid

out-of-boundsAbout the book

Internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is one of our finest crime writers, whose gripping, impeccably plotted novels have garnered millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, Out of Bounds, she delivers a riveting cold case novel featuring detective Karen Pirie.

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating, a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems.

An enthralling, twisty read, Out of Bounds reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business.

Review

I found out about this book from Renee (Its Book Talk). She described it as a captivating read and that is what made me decide to read the book. Out of Bounds is the first book that I have read by Val McDermid and although it is part of a series, I was still able to enjoy it as a standalone.

The story begins at a party after which four kids decide to steal a car and go on a joyride. The night ends with a tragic accident which marks the beginning of cold case investigation as one of the kid’s DNAs partially matched DNA found on an old crime screen. The case is soon referred to Karen Pirie, Investigator in charge of the detective’s unit that deals with the cold cases (Historical Crime Unit). At first, the case seemed quite straight forward but this is where the twists started. The lead investigator is soon faced with one hurdle after the other while trying to establish the missing link.

I found it interesting that the lead detective was involved in three cases at the same time. There was the DNA case, a suspicious suicide and a twenty year old case about a terrorist bombing. All these cases were intertwined hence making it a very complex investigation. However, the lead detective, Karen was definitely up for the task. The author did a fantastic job in creating a strong, female lead. Karen was a smart, intuitive, relentless and confident Investigator who made the investigation quite interesting.

Apart from the Investigation which was the main story-line, I like the fact that the author introduced a new angle of Syrian refugees in Scotland. We get to meet these refugees through their interactions with Karen. Their stories and struggles are shared in a way that makes them endearing. They are not treated with suspicion(it happens sometimes) but as regular people going through a tough time. I really liked this angle  even though it was not part of the main story-line.

I think that this book will appeal to lovers of police procedural. It is more character-driven than plot-driven hence the pace is not too fast. However, the characters are well-developed in such a way that it was easy to become immersed in their story. The investigation is explained in detail and as readers, we get to understand how the cases were solved. I also like the fact that the detectives relied on evidence and forensics and not purely on instincts and confessions like in some cop procedural/thrillers.  The book was also so well researched that I ended up learning a number of things. For instance; I didn’t know much about the laws concerning adoptions and the complexities surrounding the information pertaining adoption cases.

As I have already mentioned, this book can be read as a standalone. I recommend Out of Bounds by Val MacDermid to all fans of police procedural/crime thrillers.

The Adventures of a Mzungu by David Ardron

adventures-of-a-mazunguAbout the Book

The Adventures of a Mzungu takes a light-hearted look at the ups and downs of travelling and working in Africa, as seen through the eyes of a bewildered novice who had never before wandered outside of the UK. Travel with David on his first visit to a Nairobi shanty town, where he is startled by a Masai security guard, has his first taste of African public transport, and survives an encounter with a water buffalo.

Along the way, David experienced adventures on aeroplanes, at airports, on prison and hospital visits, when he came face-to-face with an ostrich, and when he tried his hand at driving in crazy African traffic. (Rules of the road? What rules? You just give way to anything bigger than you!)

David’s twelve-month visit to Uganda in 2007 brought him closer to the people in its villages, and opened his eyes to the need for training for the village church leaders. He realised that the leaders could not afford to visit the larger towns and cities, so the training needed to go to them.

Over the next few years, David identified a suitable course, undertook the necessary training as a presenter, and is currently presenting the course to church leaders who are, in turn, taking the teaching to even the remotest villages.

The Adventures of a Mzungu is a thought-provoking account of David’s experiences that will both aid and inspire those thinking about volunteering in charitable organisations, whether Christian-based or secular.

Review

The Adventures of a Mzungu by David Ardron is a memoir about David’s missionary work in Africa. The first thing that drew me to the book was the title. Mzungu is a Swahili word which means white person. Seeing Swahili on a book title and on NetGalley was kinda exciting for me. I didn’t even notice that the story is partly set in Nairobi (my hometown) until after I got the book. Yeah, I just requested it based on the title.

Reading books set in Africa  written by foreigners is always a bit tricky. As a child of the continent, I never really know what to expect. In Africa, there is a view about how the world views us versus how we view ourselves. There are two kinds of Africa; the Mzungu Africa and the Africa that we know. The Mzungu Africa is not recognizable to most people in this continent.I think it is based on what is shown in the international media. This is what makes some people ask us questions such as whether we live on trees, own wild animals, wear clothes, have food to eat(yeah, we still get those questions). I don’t blame  those who ask these questions though, maybe it is just what they know based on media representation of the continent. Therefore; I anxiously started reading David’s memoir, hoping for a fair portrayal of Africa.

I am glad to say that this memoir turned out to be as light-hearted as described. His adventures in Africa made me smile and sometimes laugh. It was interesting to read about his experiences in Nairobi (Kenya) and Uganda. What he described were things that are familiar to me like the use of bodabodas(motorbikes used as taxis), crazy bus rides on bad roads. These are part of my day to day life but reading them from a different PoV added a new, interesting twist to normal experiences and made them seem so funny and interesting.

Reading David’s story reminded me of a Mzungu friend of mine from Germany who once told me that Kenyans are way too touchy. He found it odd that people touch strangers (taps mostly). I remember looking at him like he was out of his mind and asking him, ‘If I don’t know your name and I want to get your attention, how would I do it?’ You see, if Kenyans want to get your attention and they don’t know your name, they will touch you. A tap on the shoulder, arm and sometimes, many taps or a light grip on the arm, I mean, how else do we get your attention? We don’t know your name, so we touch you. That is how we communicate with strangers in buses or busy streets. Like if the bus conductor wants to collect bus fare from the people seated far from him, he will tap the nearest passengers, who will then tap the ones in front of them until the message is communicated. Sometimes, no words are exchanged. Yeah, we excel in non-verbal communication. It is such a normal thing that I found it odd that my friend noticed it and then he told me that in Germany, people don’t touch strangers but they shout to get their attention.Lol, you do not shout at strangers in Kenya. Seriously, don’t do it!

Anyway, I digress. What I mean is that David had a way of describing his experiences in a way that was relatable. It felt like I was reading about the experiences of my Mzungu friend and so I found myself really enjoying the book. The chapters are short and each one is titled based on the main experience highlighted. There were titles such as So, This is Uganda, Three Men on a Motorbike and my favourite one, Good Old Land rover.

The Adventures of a Mzungu by David Ardron is not just about his experiences in Africa, it is also about mission work and volunteering. David uses his experiences to provide some guidance to other people interested in volunteer work. I also liked the fact that his faith is evident through the pages. He makes references to scriptures throughout the book. Using his experiences to offer encouragement and basing this on Christian teachings. This book is motivational and quite informative.

This is the kind of book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to know what it is like to visit Africa. The experiences are shared in an honest, light manner which I found quite enjoyable to read. As I said, these are things that I get to see every day but reading about them from a foreigner’s PoV just brought a whole new perspective to them. It brought up some interesting aspects of cultural differences. A couple of times I found myself thinking;”well I thought that happens everywhere, kwani how do they do it in their country?

I also recommend  The Adventures of a Mzungu by David Ardron to anyone who would like to get into ministry and understand what it entails to follow God’s calling. Anyone interested in volunteer work in Africa or any part of the world will also benefit from reading this memoir.  It can be volunteer work in religious or secular organizations. Perhaps, it could be a deployment to another part of the world. If you have ever wondered how it would be like to give up your life and all that is familiar to you and go to another part of the world for service of God, your Country or humanity in general then this is the book for you. As I have already mentioned, it is not just about his experiences in Africa but he shares personal stories that act as a guidance for anyone who is considering a life of service.

ps: This is not related to the book directly but David’s story reminded me about the story of Daniel Christos, the Australian backpacker who recently made new headlines when he came to Kenya. If you want to read his story then just look for articles on Jesus in Nairobi.