This book was just "okay" for me. A bookmobile is brought to a remote village in Africa. Some of the villagers enjoy and look forward to the next visit, while others oppose it outright.
It seemed to go on and on about one boy and his missing books and i found the book overall to be dry and lacking a real story. I wish there had been more descriptions of the people and their surroundings. Rating 3/5
Novel about young librarian who travels to Kenya as literacy volunteer. The bush community she visits with the library books hauled via camel has varied issues already unfolding. The story of these issues and her involvement is interesting. It offers some differing views of the impact of modern on tradition that are thought provoking. Characters well developed. Style of writing moves the story along well, as it is vignettes of action, thought and conversation from one character viewpoint to another chapter by chapter.
This story takes you far away to the village of Mididima. Miss Sweeney is the American who comes to the village to share her love of reading with this tribe. Throughout the story the villagers felt like she was invading their way of life with her camel bookmobile, and really kept their fences up... but as you read on you begin to feel like they really are glad that she has brought them things to read and they actually look forward to her visits. There is some slight romance in the story that I did not expect and a great ending. I loved it!
I have re-written this review 3 times. Must keep my emotions out of it and just say...
This is a story of how bringing books to a nomadic African tribe affects their lives. In order for this bookmobile to survive, they must have strict guidelines for the return of the books. If the books are not returned when due, the book mobile will no longer visit that tribe. One member of the tribe, did not return the books. Now the entire tribe will suffer because of it. Why won't this member return the books? How do other members of the tribe react? How do the people supporting this endeavor react?
The question that screams from my mind throughout reading this book is, "Why does modern society think their way is always the right and only way?" Why bring books to a nomadic African tribe where most can't even read? Their lives may seem extremely hard compared to ours but it is not the wrong way to live. It is their way of living, rich with traditions and lore that go back many generations. Will bringing books to them enhance their existence or start to alter it? Will it be for better or worse?
Is my reaction to this book my desire for a simpler life? Am I envious of their traditions because the traditions of today seem so shallow? Maybe I am reacting to the latest, repulsive demonstration of the almighty dollar in the USA. Retail stores opening early on Thanksgiving Day. We are losing sight of what is important in life.
This book has a fantastic premise, an American traveling to bring books to semi-nomadic Africans on the backs of camels, and I thought I was going to love it, but I ended up just liking it. The parts of the book when she writes about the power, magic, and mystery of books and libraries are great, but the rest of the story is so typical it just didn't work for me. Perhaps it is good writing to demonstrate the universality of the human condition, but I didn't want to read about infidelity, abortion, and the demise of friendship in the bush. I did want to hear a lot more about the reactions of the people to the books that were changing their lives.
I really enjoyed this book, it started a bit slow, laying the groundwork for Fiona but once she got to Africa it was very interesting. I love the interplay of charters, each one very well rounded. I was fully invested in all the charters. Marsha Hamilton told a very descriptive and colorful tale, one that I felt I could see in my mind like a movie. The lives of the semi-nomadic village, living in what most would consider a bleak existence, but from their point of view was rich in history, community, celebration and close to nature. A tale of how even the smallest gift, a hand pump and hose to bring water from the well, a teacher, some crazy books about avalanches and stories of lovers in big American Cities, can change their lives but also threaten their history and the continuation of their village and the life that they knew. At what point do modern devices and ideas become destructive to live as you know it? Read the book and you will see, a totally surprise ending, not anything that I was expecting. This was a very quick and easy read, don't forget to jot down the address to the real Camel Library so you can donate any books you may not need anymore. The information is at the end of the book.