The hot Peace Corps book for Spring ’09 is by Eve Brown-Waite. She sold it for six figures last year and now comes the moment of truth. It’s being published in April. This review comes from the Feb 27, 2009, Library Journal. We have a much kinder review of Eve’s story of her Peace Corps days and life overseas in Peace Corps Writers. Check it out.
Brown-Waite, Eve. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life. Broadway. Apr. 2009.
Verdict: This is ultimately rather thin stuff, with the author’s churlish moments unfortunately more memorable than the times she is genuinely touched by her surroundings. Optional at best.
Background: Brown-Waite’s story begins as she joins the Peace Corps, falls in love with her recruiter, and goes to live in Ecuador. She didn’t complete the full tour of service for personal reasons and felt that she owed it to herself to try overseas living again. She got her chance when her husband (the erstwhile recruiter) took a job in Uganda; the three years they spent there make up most of the book. To her credit, the author is candid about her frustrations and whiny moments, seemingly aware that she might come across as annoying. In the end, however, her purportedly life-changing experiences read more like a catalog of personal hassles. The writing is amusing in parts, but the narrative rarely rises above the superficial: Ugandans talk funny, they smell, some of their customs are irritating-and there are bugs!-Megan Hahn Fraser, Univ. of California Lib., Los Angeles