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There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 5, 2006

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 5, 2006
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596911166
  • ASIN: B001H31NJQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,733,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Not unlike the AIDS pandemic itself, the odyssey of Haregewoin Teferra, who took in AIDS orphans, began in small stages and grew to irrevocably transform her life from that of "a nice neighborhood lady" to a figure of fame, infamy and ultimate restoration. In telling her story, journalist Greene who had adopted two Ethiopian children before meeting Teferra, juggles political history, medical reportage and personal memoir. While succinctly interspersing a history of Ethiopia, lucidly tracing the history of AIDS from its early manifestation as "slim disease" in the late 1970s to its appearance as a bizarrely aggressive [form] of Kaposi's sarcoma in the early 1980s, and following the complex path of medication (a super highway in the West, a trail in Africa), Greene rescues Teferra from undeserved oblivion as well as rescuing her from undeserved obloquy (false accusations of child selling). As with her previous books (Praying for Sheetrock; The Temple Bombing; Last Man Out), Greene takes a very close look at what appears to be the fringe of an important social event and illuminates the entire subject. Ethiopia is home to "the second-highest concentration of AIDS orphans in the world"; even as some of the orphans find happy endings in American homes, Greene keeps the urgency of the greater crisis before us in this moving, impassioned narrative. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The horrific numbers behind the AIDS pandemic in Africa, "the most terrible epidemic in human history," have little resonance for most people in the West: "the ridiculous numbers wash over most of us." But this searing account humanizes the statistics through heartbreaking, intimate stories of what it is like for young orphans left alone in Ethiopia. Greene's story focuses on one rescuer, Haregewoin Teferra, who has opened her home and compound in a rickety hillside neighborhood of Addis Ababa and taken in hundreds of the untouchables thrown in the streets and left at her door. She cannot turn them away. Yes, the comparisons with Mother Teresa are there, but this is no hagiography; the middle-aged Teferra is "just an average person with a little more heart." Greene tells the stories in unforgettable vignettes of loss, secrecy, panic, stigma, and, sometimes, hope, even as she documents the big picture of "the human landslide," the history and science of epidemiology and transmission, and expresses her fury at the "crimes against humanity" of the multinational drug companies whose expensive patents have denied millions access to the life-saving medicines. Just as moving are the personal stories of international adoptions in the U. S., including two Ethiopian children taken into Greene's own Atlanta family. The detail of one lost child at a time, who finds love, laughter, comfort, and connection, opens up the universal meaning of family. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Melissa Fay Greene''s new book, NO BIKING IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT A HELMET, is her first memoir and her first light-hearted and humorous book. She has always been a funny writer, but it was hard to use much humor in telling stories about domestic violence, coal mine disasters, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It turns out that the true story of the creation of Melissa's family of nine children, including four by birth, four from Ethiopia, and one from Bulgaria, is one of the funniest stories she knows. Melissa and her husband, Don Samuel, and half a dozen of these children live in Atlanta. Visit Melissa online at

Customer Reviews

This is such a moving book, very emotional, but very informative as well.
Yes, this is a tragic story in many ways but it is also a hopeful one, a reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit and the generosity of the human heart.
Gail Cooke
This book is an amazing look at what one individual can do to make a difference when the rest of the world isn't doing a whole lot.
M. Wheeler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Kategal on September 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a few suggestions for those of you about to begin "There is No Me Without You."

First, do not attempt to read this book while having coffee and hot chocolate at Starbucks with your ten year old son. You will cry. He will be mortified.

Second, do not read the chapter about Haregewoin's daughter, Atetegeb, right before you drift off to sleep. Your dreams will certainly be haunted and unsettling. In your insomnious state, you will find yourself at the bedsides of your own children, gratefully watching them sleep and breathe.

Finally, do not so much as open the first page if you are facing any pressing deadlines or tasks (taking care of your children, for instance). Your laundry WILL pile up. Your children WILL go to school having eaten cookies and chocolate milk for breakfast. Your dog WILL look at you pleadingly to finally feed him, because you WILL NOT be able to put this book down.

I felt it only fair to warn you.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Haregewoin Teferra's story is precisely what the world needs to hear - a powerful reminder that one person can make a difference. As read by voice performer Julie Fain Lawrence this story is straightforward and true. While it would have been easy for the actress to lapse into sentimentality she never does so, speaking strongly, courageously, which certainly befits the life of Haregewoin.

A resident of Ethiopia, Haregewoin was devastated when she lost both her husband and her 23-year-old daughter within the space of five years. How does one react when everything in life they hold dear is taken from them? She became a recluse, isolating herself in a tin walled compound close to her daughter's grave. It was as if there was nothing on earth left for her and she was simply waiting to die.

All of this changed when a priest brought a teenager, orphaned by the horrifying AIDS pandemic that is sweeping their country, to Haregewoin. Then he brought another. As she began to care for these young ones her life changed and so did theirs.

It didn't take long before it was known that Haregewoin offered a haven for the lost - a baby was left at her doorstep, a grandfather gave up grandchildren he could not afford to feed, a young boy whose mother had died and whose father was terminally ill. Soon, there were sixty children in her care. A mighty task for a middle-aged 4' 8" tall woman. Yet she rose to it and more - she did so gladly, heroically.

Yes, this is a tragic story in many ways but it is also a hopeful one, a reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit and the generosity of the human heart.

- Gail Cooke
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ostyn on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the mother of two Ethiopian daughters I found this book to be incredibly interesting and touching. The statistics about the problem of AIDS in Africa are jawdropping. But the heart of the book is the story of this woman and the children she helps.

Though non-fiction, the book reads like a novel. I read it cover to cover in two very long evenings. A week after I finished it, I was already thinking about reading it again. Except I also wanted to share it with everyone I know-- what a dilemma! I may be buying another copy or two.

Read this book for yourself. You will be entertained. Your heart will be touched. And your view of the world will be broadened.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on September 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't know about you, but I am not one of those people who looks at the vast problems of Africa, Orphans and the global spread of AIDS and says, "Yeah. I can wrap my mind around that."

Yet after coming across THERE IS NO ME WITHOUT YOU, an incredible book about this very subject, I feel differently. It was the subtitle, "One woman's odyssey to rescue Africa's Children" that made me brave enough to crack open such a tome. Anyone can relate to one person's story, one person's desire to rise above the self. The author is clearly a person who thinks about community, her journalist instincts mingling with a mother's compassion when she read of the "ridiculous number" of African orphans---twelve million and counting. "Who is going to raise twelve million children?" she wondered, and went to find out. She found this widow in Ethiopia, Haregewoin Teferra, who dealt with grief by taking in children no one else wanted-one, and then a few, and then a staggering amount--and still counting. The author, Melissa Fay Greene, has even adopted some Ethiopian children herself, in addition to her own four kids.

Yet if this was just a sweet book about loving mothers across the continents I don't think it would still be haunting me and spurring me to some action. Greene weaves throughout this

amazing tale the larger story of how this all happened---the global spread of AIDS, the attempts to stop it, the horrid inequities. Right now in western countries a relatively healthy person living with AIDS is popping some pills that would save the life of an African who doesn't know such medicine exists, couldn't obtain it if she knew it was out there, and will die due to this cold, hard fact. Whose fault is this? Greene makes it clear---drug companies, complicit governments (no U.S.
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