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There Is No Me Without You

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

By Melissa Fay Greene

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Review by Susan Poisson-Dollar

Warning: Don't read this book without a box of tissues handy!

Melissa Fay Greene's new book There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Save Africa's Children is, at one time, a heartwarming story about adoption, a stark account of the African AIDS crisis and its effect on children, and a page-turning drama about one Ethiopian woman trying to make a difference. A grim topic to be sure, but I found myself laughing as well as crying as I raced through this book as fast as I could. Haregewoin Tesferra is no saintlike heroine but rather an ordinary, middle-class woman caught up in circumstances she cannot turn her back on. Grieving the loss of her own husband and daughter and fully intending to enter a life of seclusion, Mrs. Tesferra reluctantly agrees to care for one orphaned child, then another one, and another. Soon her home is literally on the frontlines of the battle to save so many children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. The reader is drawn into Haregewoin's world, a window on all of Africa, and rejoices as children are literally snatched from death's door into her loving arms and eventually sent on to join new families around the world. Ms. Greene follows a number of these children into their new homes, providing a joyous counterpoint to the sad circumstances that underlay the entire story. One of the most moving books I have ever read and sure to prompt the question "What can I do to help?

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