To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Review this product
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Bonnie P. Ulrich
5.0 out of 5 starsI just finished Heart of Palms and loved it! It brought back many different emotions and ...
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2014
I just finished Heart of Palms and loved it! It brought back many different emotions and memories from my Peace Corps experience in Panama from 1965-1967. So many changes and yet so many similarities between experiences in the 1960s and those in 1991-1993. Your writing was most engaging and I could feel your comfort level and your language skills grow as your time in Tranquilla increased. Your living situation, eating, etc., all struck a familiar chord. I also found the stories about local forestry techniques and your efforts to promote conservation with economic benefit fascinating. I could not put the book down!
5.0 out of 5 starsInteresting read and great look at Peace Corp life
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2016
This is a well-written book that held my interest from start to finish. Enjoyable and informative read which gives a good feel for Peace Corps service. It is also entertaining adventure reading for armchair adventurers. Would recommend this book.
I don’t get a lot of opportunity to read lately, but this book was well worth my time. I found myself looking forward to sitting down with the author to see what adventures were coming next. But it was the familiar adventures that I could relate to on some level that kept me coming back. The joy of small successes, the fear of being found out when I’m in over my head, nerves and optimism all wrapped up together. I got swept up in the successes and heartache that make up any real journey. The exotic locale and especially the culture with all its foreign quirkiness made it feel like an escape from my everyday life. There were times she made me laugh out loud at the awkwardness created by the contrast of cultures. The honesty and vulnerability the author shares makes her so human, like she could be my neighbor. The formal plant names inserted were a distraction for me, not being versed or that interested in tropical plants. But it obviously stems from the authors formal training and purpose for being in Panama, so I get the relation. After a few chapters I found myself just skipping over them. Finally, I would have loved some photos of the people and places described in the pages. I’m hoping the next edition will include these. Overall, a great read worth your time!
5.0 out of 5 starsWell written, honest, and entertaining
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2014
As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I have steadfastly avoided reading Peace Corps memoirs. Finally I could resist no longer and picked up “Heart of Palms”, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was brought back to my own experiences in the author’s unflinchingly honest accounts of cultural faux-pas and the sobering reality of the day to day challenges faced by subsistence farmers in the developing world. Ms. Cornett does a wonderful job bringing these difficulties to life and showing how the needs of the locals are often at odds with our idealistic vision for progress in the developing world. Although I don’t remember the author stating this explicitly, I took from her writing an important truth about Peace Corps: whether or not you believe Peace Corps is an effective development organization, it is without doubt an extremely valuable training experience for our young professionals. I would recommend this book highly. Now, about the value of wilderness…but that’s a whole ‘nuther book….
Heart of Palms, a fine memoir of Cornett’s Peace Corps service in Panama, is a delightful and insightful read. Her stories capture a wide range of personal, professional, cultural and political realities and challenges embedded in her choice to be a PC volunteer, most of them unanticipated, with little if any experience or preparation to draw on.
Told with great candor, she reveals experiences familiar to anyone pursuing the keen human desire to belong in a foreign culture, navigating barriers of language, custom and stereotypes. The evolution of her work and daily life reveal the tensions involved with being part of a local community with a personal perspective that reaches beyond the provincial.
Cornett’s open, engaging style is laced with a fun sense of self-deprecating humor as she relates her emotional roller-coaster, professional challenges and evolving relationships and thinking. Her capacity for honesty and reflection has undoubtedly enhanced the many ways in which her time in Panama has and continues to enrich her life. Reading her story is likely to enrich yours. I highly recommend it!
As a fellow former Peace Corps volunteer, "Heart of Palms" brought me back to my own challenges and successes in development work. The soul-searching memoir is full of poignant, heart-breaking, and comical stories. "Heart of Palms" reminded me that experiences which matter most in life are rarely easy or straight-forward. The late 1980's and early 1990's, the time in which Cornett's story is set, was such a storied time for Panama and U.S. relationships. In any follow-up story, I hope that Cornett adds more historical and political context.
Anyone interested in cross-cultural experiences, or work in developing nation should read "Heart of Palms".