Eve Brown-Waite’s memoir, FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA, is one of those books that makes you a better person. But shh! Don’t tell. Because reading it doesn’t feel like reading a good-for-you, “we are the world” treatise. It feels more like reading a collection of Dave Barry columns. Eve’s voice is funny, self-deprecating, and honest, but the book itself is more than just those things–and that’s saying a lot.
It’s the kind of book that makes you feel like you know and understand a group of people whom you’ll probably never meet, living in a place you’ll probably never visit, carrying on a lifestyle you’ll probably never experience. But by the end of the book, you get that these people are humans, more or less just like you and I.
Maybe I’m being overly simplistic, but I tend to think that the more chances we have to figure out that other people in other places are actually a lot like us–with their pride, their friendships, their dignity, their intelligence, their odd habits, their social quirks that don’t make much sense from the outside–the more we grow as a species.
Eve probably didn’t know, when she was living out her Peace Corps and Ugandan adventures, that she’d be writing a book about them some day. And that’s where the brilliance of her story lies. Because you can’t beat someone over the head with a message and expect them to take to it. You have to cajole them–tell them a good story, put in some funny jokes. Add pink pants and stir… and sometimes take off pink pants… well, you’d better read the book.
Kudos, Eve! Congratulations on your wonderful debut.
p.s. Don’t forget! In celebration of Deb Eve’s launch, everyone who comments this week will automatically be entered to win (one entry per person, but you can comment as often as you like. Eve loves to read email. And we’re lonely.) At the end of the week one commenter will be chosen at random to win a signed copy of Eve’s book and a love note from the rest of us.