Monday, February 01, 2010

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life by Eve Brown-Waite
Copyright 2009
Broadway Books - Travel/Memoir
307 pages

Wow, that title is quite a mouthful, isn't it? I won my copy of First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria in a drawing, but I'm not sure where. Probably from The Book Lady. At any rate, I'm grateful to the source of Malaria because it is a tremendous read.

Eve Brown had always planned to go into the Peace Corps to fulfill her need to do something noble, to do her part to help save the world. After she graduated from college, she did exactly as she planned but with "some ambivalence" (according to the cover blurb).

When Eve arrived at the Peace Corps recruiting office for an interview she wasn't expecting to fall in love with her recruiter; but, practically the moment she began talking to him, Eve knew John was the man she wanted to marry. John talked fondly of his time in Africa. Totally smitten, Eve eventually left for Ecuador as much to win John's heart as to do her part.

After a year in a remote village in Ecuador, Eve returned shaken and in serious need of therapy after a friend's violent experience brought buried memories to the surface. Eve and John had managed to continue having a long-distance relationship with occasional visits by John and she hoped they'd end up quickly marrying, settling down in the United States. But, John had other things in mind. After several years of dating and living together, they finally married . . . and John found the job of his dreams in Uganda. So much for staying within easy reach of a decaf cappuccino.

It would be hard to spoil this book, simply because there is so much I think most Americans can probably barely fathom in the description of life in Africa. Eve and John lived in an area that most charitable organizations considered off-limits because of sporadic violence, difficult conditions and poor access to medical care and general supplies. But, they remained for quite a while and Eve Brown-Waite has a lot of stories to tell in this book, including her experiences with intestinal parasites, pregnancy outside of the United States, difficulty communicating with people (her stories about early pregnancy and just trying to find out whether or not she was actually pregnant are hilarious) and being held hostage. She describes her frustrations as she tried to find a way to use her skills as a health educator and how she learned to live with the language and the culture.

5/5 - Excellent writing, fascinating tales of personal experience, likable narrator. I loved this book. The author tells her story with humor and sensitivity. She's the kind of person that you wish you could live next door to or whom you feel you'd love to meet and become friends with for life.

Again, I'm going to try to bang out as many reviews as possible, this week. We'll see how long I last. Last week, I did very well until fatigue caught up with me -- not from writing reviews but from having to wake up the kiddo and then staying up till my usual bedtime (because the husband usually does the morning routine and he was in Germany). I'm a night-owl and I neglected to nap when my days suddenly became about 20 hours long. When I hit the wall, I hit it hard. But, I'm back. I hope.

11 comments:

  1. I loved her sense of humor. I'm sure I would have been miserable in her situation!

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  2. Softdrink,

    Me, too. I can't imagine living the way she did and keeping a sense of humor. I'd have lasted about 3 days, max.

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  3. I can't wait to read this - it sounds fabulous!

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  4. Kathy,

    It is and I think you will love it. She sounds like such a lovely person.

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  5. This sounds like a good book.

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  6. Great review. This sounds so good. I need to track down a copy!

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  7. Krista and Holly,

    I think you'd both really enjoy First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria and highly recommend it. There wasn't anything in it that I found offensive -- a little gross, at times (internal parasites, ew) but even when she shacked up with her future husband, it wasn't graphic or rude.

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  8. This sounds like my type of book! Adding it to TBR - thanks for the review as I haven't heard of it before :)

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  9. Christa,

    You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I really like the author. I want her to move next door to me.

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  10. I can never remember who I won books from. Sometimes I search for the title or author in my gmail and I can figure it out. :)

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  11. J.T.,

    Thank you for saying that! I don't ever keep track of book wins and a few actually haven't shown up . . . then I didn't know who to ask about them! I need to get my act together, but I'm really not trying to win anything, right now. So, I guess I'll get my act together later. :)

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