Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Love in the Driest Season

A Family Memoir

by Neely Tucker

Reviewed July 7, 2004.
Crown Publishers, New York, 2004.  242 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (362.73 TUC).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #3, Personal Stories and Reflections

This is a wonderful, moving and suspenseful story, all the more touching because it is true.

As a foreign correspondent stationed in Zimbabwe, Neely Tucker and his wife wanted to help at a local orphanage that was devastated by sickness.  They ended up caring for Chipo, an abandoned infant dying of starvation and pneumonia.  A doctor asked them to take Chipo, saying that she would die if she returned to the orphanage.

Mr. Tucker and his wife managed to nurse Chipo back to health, but their struggle to gain foster parent status and to adopt Chipo was a much more difficult battle.

The story plays out against the backdrop of violence and unrest in Africa.  While his wife was fighting for Chipo’s life, Neely Tucker was facing devastation as he covered the U. S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi.  As they were trying to show what a good home they were making for Chipo, foreign journalists were declared Enemies of the State in Zimbabwe.

Love in the Driest Season is a thought-provoking and beautiful book with an inspiring story to tell.  It’s the sort of book that makes you happy to read on the back cover that the author is now living with his daughter Chipo, because it doesn’t look like a happy ending is going to happen, and you know that if it doesn’t, your heart would break along with his.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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