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Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir | [Neely Tucker]

Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir

Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a village outside the city. She'd been left to die in a field on the day she was born.
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Publisher's Summary

Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a village outside the city. She'd been left to die in a field on the day she was born, abandoned in the tall brown grass that covers the highlands of Zimbabwe in the dry season. After a near-death hospital stay, and under strict doctor's orders, the ailing child was entrusted to the care of Tucker and Vita. Within weeks, Chipo, the girl-child whose name means gift, would come to mean everything to them.

An active correspondent, Tucker crisscrossed the continent, filing stories about the uprisings in the Congo, the civil war in Sierra Leone, and the postgenocidal conflict in Rwanda. At home in Harare, Vita was nursing Chipo back to health. Soon she and Tucker decided to alter their lives forever by adopting Chipo. That decision challenged an unspoken social norm: that foreigners should never adopt Zimbabwean children.

As if their situation wasn't tenuous enough, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was stirring up national fervor against foreigners, especially journalists, abroad and at home. At its peak, his antagonizing branded all foreign journalists personae non gratae. For Tucker, the only full-time American correspondent in Zimbabwe, the declaration was a direct threat to his life and his wife's safety, and an ultimatum to their decision to adopt their only daughter.

Against a background of war, terrorism, disease, and unbearable uncertainty about the future, Chipo's story emerges as an inspiring testament to the miracles that love, and dogged determination, can sometimes achieve. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant, this family memoir will resonate throughout the ages.

©2004 Neely Tucker; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This is a gorgeous mix of family memoir and reportage that traverses the big issues of politics, racism and war." (Publishers Weekly)
"Tucker has written an affecting, powerful memoir....Utterly heartfelt and truly inspiring." (Booklist)

What Members Say

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  •  
    reggie p PA 03-01-05
    reggie p PA 03-01-05 Member Since 2003

    reggie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "batter than 5 stars"

    A terrific story, exquisitely written and exceptionally narrated. The story was more than gripping. It provided insight into African current affairs and life in Zimbabwe. I had difficulty turning it off and always looked forward to starting it back up again. It was a perfect audiobook, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Philadelphia, PA, USA 04-20-04
    Rochelle Philadelphia, PA, USA 04-20-04 Member Since 2001
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    "Excellent, worthy of time and attention"

    This book was definitely worth the time. The author goes into the issues of AIDS in Rwanda and Zimbabwe and the way Americans are seen in parts of Africa. There are many aspects of African life that are explored in this book that we, as Americans are not aware of and should be. The story of this man and his wife who try to adopt a Zimbabwean baby is compelling and inparts, sad. Neely Tucker and his wife are to be commended for doing what they did in this story and thier baby, Cheapo, is a very luck little girl.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Orem, UT, USA 10-11-05
    David Orem, UT, USA 10-11-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A moving, compelling story"

    I listen mostly to novels, but this book was fascinating to me and held my attention as much as most stories. As an adoptive parent I could relate particularly to those emotional aspects of the book. But I found other elements compelling: the setting in Zimbabwe and the insight into the racial, political, and cultural issues; challenges of intermarriage; relationships; balancing career and family; etc. There was occasional strong language and descriptions of violence and suffering, but they are presented in a sensitive and insightful way to help underscore the incredible challenges faced in that country. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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