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Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir Paperback – April 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400081602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400081608
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a foreign correspondent, Tucker had worked in conflict zones on two continents and seen death in all its gruesome forms. "The steady stream of violence had worn away my natural sense of compassion to the point where I could cover almost any horror but felt very little about anything at all." Then, in 1997, Neely, a white Mississippian, and his African-American wife, Vita, were posted to Zimbabwe, where the AIDS crisis was feeding an unprecedented wave of sick and abandoned children. "The scale of death, and the depths of misery it entailed, defied the imagination even for someone like me...." Neely and Vita volunteered at an overwhelmed orphanage in the Zimbabwean capital, where diarrhea and pneumonia were killing babies at an alarming rate. Nobody dared whisper the word AIDS, though its specter hung over every crib. Here, Neely and Vita met Chipo, a desperately sick baby girl who had been abandoned under a tree. With temporary permission to take her home, Neely and Vita threw all available resources toward saving her life: round-the-clock feedings, good doctors, medicine and a clean, warm environment. She thrived. Neely and Vita decided to adopt Chipo, only to discover a slew of cultural taboos against adoption by foreigners-a white foreigner in particular. While Chipo grew healthy and fat under their care, the Tuckers negotiated a nightmarish bureaucracy that threatened to tear Chipo away from them; meanwhile, Zimbabwe was entering a period of civil unrest that targeted Americans and journalists. This is a gorgeous mix of family memoir and reportage that traverses the big issues of politics, racism and war.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–This is the riveting account of how two Mississippians, newspaper reporter Tucker, who is white, and his African-American wife, Vita, adopted a baby. Shortly after their marriage, he was posted to Harare, Zimbabwe, where thousands of children have been orphaned by AIDS and extended families are overburdened with their care. One day, a newborn was rescued from abandonment in the bush and brought into the orphanage where the Tuckers were volunteering. Chipo was tiny and close to death, but she latched onto Neely's finger, and he fell in love with her. The couple were told that it's practically impossible for foreigners to adopt a Zimbabwean baby, but they decided to try. Neely traveled around Africa, reporting on uprisings, massacres, and genocides. Intermittently, he returned to Harare to deal with the rigid, arrogant social-welfare bureaucracy and the horrible sadness of the children dying in the understaffed orphanage. Through patience, political savvy, and the help of sympathetic social workers, he was able to get the necessary papers to adopt the child. The story offers insights into interracial marriage, African politics, and daily life in a Third World country. Teens are sure to be fascinated by the Tuckers' experience.–Penny Stevens, Andover College, Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Neely Tucker draws heavily on his two decades reporting on crime and armed conflict from around the globe to create Sully Carter and his complicated moral compass in "The Ways of The Dead." Pre-publication (June 2014), the book has already been sold in France, the U.K. and Poland,and has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist.

Tucker was born in Lexington, Miss., one of the poorest places in America, in 1963. He worked for newspapers in Miami and Detroit before taking postings in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Filing stories from more than 60 countries, he frequently covered war and violent conflict.When he returned to D.C. in 2000 to work for The Washington Post, he covered criminal courts and the fates of former prison inmates. Elmore Leonard, a friend in Detroit, used him as the basis and namesake for a foreign correspondent in "Cuba Libre."

Tucker, now 50, is a staff writer for the Post's Sunday Magazine. His memoir, "Love in the Driest Season," was named one of the Top 25 Books of 2004 by Publishers Weekly. It has been published in the U.K., Germany, Australia and Brazil. It has twice been optioned for film development in Los Angeles.

He lives just outside D.C. with his wife, Carol,their three children and one very large Rottweiler. Who is, of course, named Sully.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 83 customer reviews
At times heartbreaking, the story is well written and inspiring.
Joe'sMom
A good deal of information is also given about both the AIDS crisis in Africa, as well as the political situation in the different countries where Neely travels.
MHLeigh
And yet, it is not an easy book to read (extremely well written, but very emotional to read)--I cry during every chapter.
Anne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Blyth on March 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
"By noon, the ants had found the girl-child."

From the first paragraph, this book had us hooked. Not only is it a great story, but very well written. My wife and I are in a similar situation, living in Africa and trying to adopt a child we've had for years, and the book seems pretty realistic to us. Of note, the author is neither cynical nor romantic about his family's experiences, and gives us a very good picture of the struggles of his heart as well as the external struggle for adoption.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on September 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Neely Tucker's story of how he and his wife came to adopt an ailing African child proves the adage that the heart knows no boundries.

The book works so sucessfully on three distinct levels:

-Race and prejudice both in the United States and in Africa.

-The mounting tension and political termoil gripping the AIDS ravaged country.

-And most prominantly as a simple love story between a girl and her caretakers, and what they will undertake to save her.

A moving, exhausting, yet exhilarating book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mary Parker on January 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Neely Tucker, a writer for the Washington Post , details his travels in Africa as a correspondent for the Detroit Times with his African American wife and their struggle to adopt a baby from Zimbabwe. This is a truly heartwarming story that wraps you up in their family struggles and at the end you hope the author writes a sequel so you can hear more about their life together.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Judith C. Oswood on March 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Neely Tucker, a white journalist posted in Zimbabwe, and his wife Vita, a black woman, fall in love with a female infant in an orphanage in that country. The baby's name is Chipo, which means "gift" in the local language. The story, a family memoir, details the couple's attempts to adopt this baby with whom they have fallen in love. The story also explains the political situation in Zimbabwe, which is unstable and volatile, especially toward foreign journalists. There is also a great deal of information about the AIDS crisis in Africa, and how this dread disease has impacted so many families and created millions of orphans. These three topics were interwoven in the book to make a fascinating and extremely interesting story. I could feel the Tuckers' frustration with the bureaucratic red tape they had to wade through in order to someday adopt Chipo. I admired their tenacity--all because of their intense love for this beautiful baby. It would be interesting to follow this little girl into adulthood, and I hope Neely Tucker has such a possibility in mind.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Musgrove on June 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fabulous from the start. So much intermingles in this book - history, politics, personal struggle, life in Africa, bi-racial familes, adoption - that to narrow it down to a memoir wouldn't be doing it justice.

Following the writer as he pushes you through each page, you find yourself involved in the world through the eyes of this family. It's one of those books that you rush to get through and then you regret what you've done once you see there's only a few pages left.

When I find an author of this caliber, I stick with them. And Neely Tucker sure can write.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Callaghan on September 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a quick read -- compelling and informative. I learned a tremendous amount about African politics, as well as prejudice, cultural priorities, and the complications that were involved in adopting Chipo. Tucker is quite a good writer, as one would expect from a journalist. The only way it could have been a better book is if it were longer. I closed the book wishing that I had *more* -- a richer history of Zimbabwe and Rwanda, a richer history of Vita, and more context for Mr Tucker's life. Perhaps he will write another book (fiction?) based on Vita and her point of view of this adventure. Like another reviewer, I would like to see a follow up on Chipo.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D'Anne Turner Gilmore on October 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The profound nature of love, and why it matters above all else in this life, has never been better described. For all of us suffering from compassion fatigue and self-absorption this is a joyful, triumphant, and heartbreaking wakeup call to the world and this life. Do yourself a BIG favor...read this book...perhaps aloud to someone you love.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By monica Gallego on February 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book just grabs you-from the first page! It doesn't let you ignore what is happening in that part of the world. It's a story about life more than anything. About love between a couple, deals with so many racial issues that are so present in our everyday lives. It deals with love for a child, for a profession, and being pulled in a thousand directions.
The biggest thing I took from this book is just the irony of all the pain and suffering in the world, how all the loss could be prevented but the people in power choose to keep the resources from the most needy. THis book opened my eyes to something i would have never known otherwise and that's the most you could ever ask of a book.
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