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Saturday Is for Funerals
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2011
I read this book soon after it was released, and I appreciated learning about the AIDS epidemic from both a medical and a sociological point-of-view. The impact of HIV/AIDS, particularly in countries like Botswana, is all-encompassing. Max Essex is a forerunner in AIDS research, particularly in Botswana where the infection rates are somewhere close to 30%. The style of this book is written in two voices - Max Essex's and Unity Dow's. Max provides the scientific understanding of the disease, while Unity illustrates the consequences of the HIV/AIDS infection with faces and names. My favorite genre of books to read that of biographies/autobiographies. I like the way that Unity's human-interest stories alternate with Max's explanation of the research that has been done. At first I had some difficulty identifying who was 'speaking' and when - but the book becomes more fluid with each chapter. It is interesting how culture comes up against research and how, given the incessant deaths from the disease, Botswana culture has had to accommodate these new challenges and adapt accordingly. I work as an administrator in this field, and I found that this book greatly helped my understanding of my work. I was interested enough to read this book in a day or two, and the images still remain in my mind. It is not often that you encounter a book that appeals on so many levels - and imparts complex information without being condescending or pedantic. I have read some of Unity Dow's other work as well, and she has a fine, narrative voice. She captures the spirit of her culture so well that it is difficult not to pay attention. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2011
Saturday Is for Funerals is a moving collection of stories direct from those most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Unity Dow writes honestly and clearly about the people in her life that have been touched by HIV, and Max Essex explains the science behind her stories in layperson's terms. The book brings to light the every day experience of many Africans in a way that you can't ignore. The scope of the epidemic should be understood by every person alive today and this book is a great start for those wanting to know more. It's a quick and informative read and covers a variety of topics, from the process of getting an HIV test to AIDS orphans. Highly recommended.
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on December 10, 2013
The pairing of the experiences of both Dow and Essex concerning HIV/AIDS makes for a powerful illustration of the burden and suffering created by the disease. Not only informative, but heart-wrenching. Beautifully done. Not just a great read for those interested in Africa and global/public health, but can be easily read by the average audience as well.
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on November 1, 2013
These authors have so much knowledge about this. The style of the book is perfect in helping the reader not only learn about the illness but also helping to relate to those with the disease and understand how HIV/AIDS affects more than just the body and those infected with it. A great read where you will learn much.
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on January 29, 2013
Helpful book on getting several points of view and cultural aspects prior to my visit. After visiting Botswana for nearly a month, I cannot believe the tragedy that HIV/AIDS has brought to Batswana.
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on April 29, 2015
Beautifully presented book about the HIV epidemic in Botswana. I have so much admiration for the citizens and government of Botswana which obviously values each life.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2010
Unity Dow and Max Essex create a book that gives you a full birds-eye view of HIV/AIDS. While Essex lays down the foundation of HIV and it's consequent disease, AIDS, Dow provides the reader with dialogue from victims of HIV/AIDS. This dialogue isn't just words, it's stories; stories that captivate you and give you real stories behind the AIDS pandemic.

Although the book does a great job of enlightening the reader of the detrimental effects of HIV/AIDS, I would have liked to see more of a straight forward story following certain characters, but minus that, SUPERB BOOK!

Hopefully after my studies, I can help these people here, and truly make an effort, like many are already, to stop this horrendous disease.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
Saturday is for Funerals is what I call a slice of life book. Each chapter brings you a story of life in Botswana in connection with the AIDS epidemic. At the end of the chapter is a commentary of the science related to the story. This is a format that I've not encountered being done before outside of text books and I do appreciate the results. The Honorable Unity Dow has an almost conversational writing style and a breadth of life stories to keep each chapter unique and still tied together. Dr Max Essex informs us of the science that underlies the story to open a broader view of the story. Together these two authors bridge the social and the science, the individual and the whole. My understanding of the People of Botswana and of the AIDS crisis in Africa has been increased and been made personal.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2011
A smart, moving look at HIV/AIDS in southern Africa. Dow's stories place you right inside the epidemic and Essex's explanations show you hope for a way out. Highly recommended.
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