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Greetings from Jungleland Paperback – November 26, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The author's experiences of learning a language, sharing a bush taxi with a corpse, dealing with voodoo priest, to his circle of friends in an African village, and his attempts to improve the quality of life of the people of Togo helps you understand why the Peace Corp is such an important and venerated American Institution. The impact on both the people of the host country and on our own citizens who participate in this program is greater than the sum of its parts. If you have a sense of adventure and want to understand life in a traditional African village then "Greetings from Jungleland" is a book you will want to read.
Overall, I found it to be tremendously engaging! I admired the organic approach to writing and applaud his courage in laying bare his emotions, seemingly without fear of judgment. Such an honest and unrefined approach really helped to capture the essence of Komlakopé and the time spent there.
When I began the book, I thought there were a few too many pop-culture references, which at first glance...... I didn't appreciate; however as the book progressed, I saw those references diminish as his initial idealism turned into a more mature realism. Once I was further along, I came to realize those inaugural pop-culture references were vital to the storyline as they helped create a sort of road map; they became relevant in their depiction of his maturity and perspective at that time.
I found it fascinating (and unexpected) to see someone maturing so clearly throughout the book; to some extent it was like watching him become a man. I'm assuming he relied on some type of documentation from that time period; journals, letters etc. otherwise I'm not sure he could have captured the transition as well as he did.
I also thought the random peppering of a more current perspective was brilliant. It added a new and important dimension to the story, a continuation of his road map so to speak. It also highlighted overt cultural differences that may have otherwise been overlooked (i.e. the stuffed snake on his son's crib) as well as an evolving point of view (i.e. his regret over not paying the village children to dig the ditch just to prove he could do it himself ....among other regrets).
I have to say.....overall, I absolutely loved it; it was touching, entertaining and insightful. I'm sure that won't be the last time I read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's hard as Hell to gross me out, but this book did it...I don't know whether that deserves 1 star or 5 so I give it 3.Published on July 12, 2010 by Christy Leigh Stewart
This was an excellent memoir of a Peace Corps volunteers experience in Togo. You get a real insight of what it is like for a young american to learn a new language as well as... Read morePublished on May 1, 2010 by College Literacy Man