Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — LADYBOY AND THE VOLUNTEER by Susanne Aspley (Thailand)
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Review — BROOKLYN, NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL by Franklin Rothman (Brazil)
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FRONTIER CABIN STORY published by Joseph Goss (Afghanistan)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2019
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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)
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“The Other Kristen” by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)
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Review – SECRETS OF THE MOON by Tema Encarnacion (Dominican Republic)
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Review — THE HERETIC OF GRANADA by David C. Edmonds (Chile)
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Review — DRAGONFLY NOTES by Ann Panning (Philippines)
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New York Times: “Harris Wofford, Ex-Senator Who Pushed Volunteerism, Dies at 93”

Review — LADYBOY AND THE VOLUNTEER by Susanne Aspley (Thailand)

    Ladyboy and the Volunteer (Peace Corps Memoir) by Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91) Peace Corps Writers November 2014 288 pages $13.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle Reviewed by Dean Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Ladyboy and the Volunteeris a novel masquerading as a memoir. The protagonist, Susan, describes her adventures and misadventures as a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in a rural village in Thailand in the 1990s. She gets to know many of the locals, but none is more interesting than Christine who helps support her family in the village by working as a prostitute in the city. Christine is a “ladyboy,” the term Thais use to describe transgender people born male, but dressing and living as females. The book is written in a conversational style, allowing the reader to experience emotionally what the protagonist is living. The imagery is vividly descriptive and at times raw. Because it . . .

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Review — BROOKLYN, NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL by Franklin Rothman (Brazil)

    Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story Franklin D. Rothman (Brazil 1967–69) (Peace Corps memoir) Peace Corps Writers May, 2016 248 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Almaz Zewdie Sullivan (Ethiopia 1996–98) • Franklin D. Rothman’s book, Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story, brings back a lot of memories.  From the start, any Peace Corps Volunteer will relate to aspects of his story. Frank’s chance encounter with Lena, who is Brazilian, at the theater brings back positive memories of how open we tend to be as PCVs and travelers in general. He and Lena meet, they click and immediately the couple begins the exciting challenge of finding commonalities and building a relationship. Despite the differences in their upbringing, it is inspiring to read a story of how a love can flourish.  It is refreshing to see the level of commitment and the positive energy on . . .

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FRONTIER CABIN STORY published by Joseph Goss (Afghanistan)

  About FRONTIER CABIN STORY  The Rediscovered History of a West Virginia Log Farmhouse • Frontier Cabin Story is a rare architectural biography of a long-forgotten 18th-century log farmhouse in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. In the book, Joseph Goss (Afghanistan 1967–69) relates how he dug into the origins of his ancient home to discover its age and first owner. After months of painstaking detective work, he found the holy grail of his search. Along the way, the author creates an enthralling story about an unknown frontier house and gives it context by weaving it into the sweep of the region’s history from colonial times to the present. Colorful characters from the families of the house’s earliest owners populate the story and act on the stages of the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and the Civil Wars. They even take us out to the Osage Nation in Missouri and later to Mexico. The women, . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2019

  To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — Click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We now include a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) to volunteer to review it. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Fury John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Crossroad Press 289 pages January 27, 2019 $4.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindl A single, upwardly mobile professional woman, Jennifer Winters is typical of her kind until she falls victim to events that aren’t typical at all . . .

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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)

    A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing by Cherie  Kephart (Zambia 1994) Bazi Publishers September 2017 254 pages $15.95 (paperback), $24.95 (hard cover), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Cherie Kephart is the ultimate survivor. She lived through a brutal rape followed by a serious car accident while in college. Then survived both a nasty case of explosive diarrhea and possible malaria while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Ten years after her Peace Corps experience she faced a myriad of severe symptoms which defied diagnosis. Through it all she keeps struggling gamely to find a treatment that will allow her to lead some semblance of a normal life and be a useful person in the world. The title, “A Few Minor Adjustments,” is ironic, borrowed from a Peace Corps pamphlet discussing the life style changes a Volunteer faces in their . . .

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“The Other Kristen” by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)

Thanks for a ‘heads up’ from Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94)     The Other Kristen Kristen Roupenian joined the Peace Corps to serve her fellow man, but she found herself trying to best the ultimate woman instead. • When I arrived in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) in 2003, I was the youngest in my group. Life in an unfamiliar culture can be infantilizing: You’re dependent on others to teach you basic skills (this is how you dress, wash, use the toilet), your new language reduces you to baby talk (“Please where bus please?”), and you end the day exhausted by the glut of information your puny brain has taken in. Still, at 21, I was adept at dependence and incompetence, and in this case my expertise served me well. I was assigned to a site in rural western Kenya that was affiliated with an orphans center named . . .

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Review – SECRETS OF THE MOON by Tema Encarnacion (Dominican Republic)

    Secrets of the Moon: A Novel by Tema Encarnacion (Dominican Republic 2000–01) CreateSpace September 2018 186 pages $9.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • Author Tema Encarnacion couldn’t have chosen a timelier theme for her debut novel, than the circumstances that force families to flee violence from Central America and embark on a perilous journey across the border into the U.S., as the immigration crisis continues unresolved. Alternating narratives from the daughter, Luz, and her mother, Esperanza, help the reader appreciate how the experience will traumatize everyone in the family from Luz’s grandmother, who has been bringing Luz up in El Salvador alone for six years, to Luz’s crossing the border where she’s raped and mistreated upon her eventual arrival in Maryland. The rape scene of a 12-year-old while crossing the desert was especially heart wrenching, but well written, and the symbolism of the . . .

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Review — THE HERETIC OF GRANADA by David C. Edmonds (Chile)

    The Heretic of Granada David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963–65) Southern Yellow Pine April 2018 358 pages $18.95 (paperback), $4.95 (Kindle)   Review by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • The Heretic of Granada is a surprisingly quick read for 63 chapters and 345 pages. The chapters are short and there is plenty of action to hold your interest. Father Antonio, an excommunicated Spanish priest, is an unlikely action hero. But when friends help him narrowly escape being burned at the stake, he is determined not just to survive, but to bring down the corrupt administration that destroyed his family. This is an adventure on a par with Treasure Island, but with adult situations and content I would not generally recommend for young readers. The book is a historical novel set in colonial Nicaragua and the Caribbean. It is so fast-paced and entertaining that I had to . . .

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Review — DRAGONFLY NOTES by Ann Panning (Philippines)

  Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss by Anne Panning (Philippines 1988–90) Stillhouse Press September 18, 2018 258 pages $16.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962–64) • Anne Panning’s memoir successfully brings together eloquent essays mourning the loss of a loving parent while remembering childhood experiences within her family and currently parenting her own two young children. Immediately following her mother’s funeral, the grieving Panning searches for communications from her mother. The first communications she attributes coming from her mother are not of dragonflies, but of a book Better Home and Gardens Sewing Book: Custom Sewing Made Easy. Sewing was embedded in her mother’s DNA. Another sign was of a laminated prayer card she found on the floor of Target: As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah-66.  With these signs, she believes her mother is reaching out to her. Then, early in . . .

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New York Times: “Harris Wofford, Ex-Senator Who Pushed Volunteerism, Dies at 93”

  By Robert D. McFadden Harris Wofford with President Bill Clinton during the first national recruitment effort for AmeriCorps volunteers at the University of Maryland in 1999. Mr. Clinton named him to lead the service organization after Mr. Wofford left the Senate.     Harris Wofford, a former United States senator from Pennsylvania whose passion for getting people involved helped create John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps, Bill Clinton’s AmeriCorps and other service organizations and made him America’s volunteer-in-chief, died on Monday night in Washington. He was 92. His son Daniel said his death, at a hospital, was caused by complications of a fall at Mr. Wofford’s Washington apartment, The Associated Press reported. By the time he became a senator in May 1991, appointed after his predecessor was killed in an aircraft accident, Mr. Wofford was already 65. He had been a lawyer, an author, a professor, the president of two colleges, . . .

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