Read what people think about King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels, Eleanor Herman, and write your own review.
King Peggy An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village
by Peggielene Bartels, Eleanor Herman
Hardcover: Feb 2012,
Paperback: Feb 2013,
Rated of 5
by Paula K. (Cave Creek, AZ) King Peggy - An Inspiration
King Peggy is not a book I normally would have chosen since I tend more toward fiction. But I am so glad I chose it from the books available for review, drawn toward the comparison of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. For sure King Peggy shares the African locale, featuring a cast of whimsical characters living in often harsh conditions. And like No. 1 Ladies', King Peggy shares a compelling, forceful protagonist with one major exception -- Peggielene Bartels, aka King Peggy, is very real. Born in Ghana, Peggy was educated in England and makes her way to the United States, where she has worked as a secretary in the Ghana embassy for many years. Her suburban one-bedroom condominium is modest by some US standards, but to her family and friends from Ghana, she is living in the lap of luxury, having achieved a level of success that some entire villages will never reach. Yet Peggy's life is not terribly satisfying or exciting. She moves through each day putting one foot in front of the other, yearning for her absent husband who rejoined his family in Africa after several failed attempts at starting a family.
But a late-night call changes all that when she is informed of her election as King of Otuam. And so begins an adventure made both amazing and fantastical as Peggy's "Yankee" can-do approach blends seamlessly with the mystical teachings of her African heritage to catapult Peggy into a role that changes her life and that of the 7,000 souls in her Otuam home forever. I was enthralled, amazed, delighted, overwhelmed and inspired by King Peggy.
Rated of 5
by Penny N. (Saginaw, MI) Inspirational and Thought provoking
With women like this, Africa CAN survive. I've traveled in and read about Africa for many years. I have never read or seen anything as positive as what is related in this wonderful book. Nor have I read an honest picture of the continent as a whole, written by an African King. The king, Peggielene Bartels is from Ghana and a naturalized American citizen who is a secretary at the Ghanian embassy. The men of her small town, Otuam, vote for her to be King. They quickly learn this is a mistake. Sadly because most of Africa suffers from the same past i.e. the slave trade and "ownership" by the countries of Europe making Peggy king breaks the mold. Through her, glimpse how Africa "works": Its religions, food, poverty, lack of clean water, politics, oppressive heat and much more. The book is written in an open and simple style. You feel you are part of the experience not being hit over the head. You cheer for Peggy and her faith in everyone.
Rated of 5
by Nancy A. (Woodstock, Georgia) An Interesting Story
It was gratifying to see an ordinary American citizen rise to the occasion and fulfill the new role life thrust upon her. I commend her for sharing so much of herself, revealing her fear (after her husband left) that "slowly boxed her into a smaller and smaller life, until her life was so tiny she could barely turn around in it" and her heartbreaking losses and tears "shed after each miscarriage, at the irrevocable loss of a beating heart, a human soul". I think the book will appeal particularly to women of middle-age.
I would have appreciated an indication of how to pronounce some of the unfamiliar words - -especially Otuam and Tsiami, which appear on almost every page. I think the book could benefit from some editing, such as removing some of the many references to her being in awe of herself as king. Although king is the correct title for her position, her actual "job" and its duties were more what we would think of as the mayor of a town of about 7,000 (about the size of Wasilla, AK).
Rated of 5
by Patricia T. (Fallbrook, CA) King Peggy
When I finished reading King Peggy, my first thought was this book would make a great Disney movie. For me it was rather a chore to finish, which is a pity because our heroine, Peggielene Bartels, is an amazing woman who took on a daunting task with determination, her story is unique and surely worthy of telling. I found the prose style problematic. Sometimes it read like a fable, sometimes like a middle school reader. Research was lacking: the author had the fishermen of Otuam pulling in an impossible mix of warm, cold, and fresh water fish from the tropical waters off Ghana; lions and rhinos are creatures of eastern, south-eastern, southern Africa, Namibia, the plains and veldts of the Great Rift Valley; Nelson Mandela is most certainly not the only African president to be jailed before taking office, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya comes to mind. Sorry to be such a curmudgeon, these details may be considered trivial, but I found them bothersome. I actually admired Peggy very much. She was too naive in the beginning, but was anxious at all times to respect her heritage while at the same time improving the lot of Otuam's residents. I'm glad she succeeded.
Rated of 5
by Carole A. (Denver, CO) One person can make a difference!
It is always uplifting to see that one average although not really can make a difference! While I felt the writing could have been tightened up this was a good read. What a wonderful example of how easily the socio-economic status of a community can be changed. King Peggy is certainly a book that should appeal to book club discussions. My book club would enlarge the discussion bringing more information about the area and how one person goes about making a difference. For these same reasons this would be a great young adult book as a basis for a research project or paper. While similar to Three Cups of Tea in idea and similar outcome this was not as dynamic. King Peggy was a worthwhile read will certainly be passed along to my reading companions.
Rated of 5
by Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI) Fewer details, please
This non-fiction story is interesting. The writing with so many details leading to the 'meat' of the story was off-putting. Perhaps it's the holiday tasks and appointments that kept me from reading this leisurely. I haven't finished the book and don't feel the pull to do so. I will try again after the New Year and perhaps I'll find it more readable. In the meantime I must say it should be a fascinating story.
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