BookBrowse Reviews There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene

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There Is No Me Without You

One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children

by Melissa Fay Greene

There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene X
There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 496 pages

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The distinguished author of Praying for Sheetrock and two-time National Book award finalist puts a human face on the AIDS crisis in Africa. Nonfiction

More than 13 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Africa; UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) predicts that by 2010 25-50 million African children under the age of 15 will be orphaned; in a dozen African countries, up to a quarter of the nation's children will be orphans.

When Melissa Fay Green started to research There Is No Me Without You she was driven by a simple question: Who will raise the millions of children currently orphaned, let alone the generations to come? Who will pack them school lunches? Who will comfort them when they have nightmares? Who will help millions of children avoid lines of servitude and prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of their culture and religion, of history and government, of craft and profession? Who will help them to grow up to make the right choices for their own lives?

The answer is not many - but there are some, In There is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children, Greene puts a human face on this overwhelming tragedy by focusing on one imperfect woman, Haregwoin Teferra, who in the face of her own tragedy (the loss of her husband and daughter) found the strength to take in orphans, both HIV-positive and negative (at a time when most Ethiopians were terrified to be close to those with HIV/AIDS, believing that they would become infected) and since then has given hope and a home to dozens, if not hundreds of children. By centering her book on Haregwoin, Greene illuminates the history, science and social effects of the African AIDS crisis, but in a way that is not only manageable for us to take in, but deeply inspiring.

Melissa Fay Greene is the author of Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing, and Last Man Out. She is a two-time finalist for the National Book Award, and Praying for Sheetrock, which the Boston Globe described it as "a monumental social history with implications that go far beyond the borders of a tiny coastal Georgia county", was named one of the top 100 works of journalism in the 20th century. She has written for the New Yorker, Life, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Redbook, Salon.com, the Chicago Tribune, and many others. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Don Samuel, and their seven children, two of whom were adopted from Ethiopia; they are in the process of adopting two more.

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This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in September 2006, and has been updated for the September 2007 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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