My Wild and Precious Life: Book Review

My Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir of Africa by Susanne Rheault.

I received this book as part of an organization for indie writers from which I’ve benefitted and to whom I felt I should give something back by reading and evaluating self-published or indie published books for them.

Rheault bases the title of her book on a poem by Mary Oliver, and it’s a perfect choice. She begins her book with her childhood — something I might not have recommended but it’s OK — and then explicates her evolution from being a professional consultant for the Clinton Foundation, living in New England, helping varied African groups build AIDS prevention teams. Her connection to Africa begins with periodic (sometimes terrifying) trips to particular places targeting one group. Ultimately, along with her husband, she builds her own NGO, Precious, in Tanzania — a school, orphanage, community outreach — pretty much everything the small community in Tanzania needs.

What is most fascinating about this book — for me — is Rheault’s continually growing understanding of the different African cultures in which she finds herself. She writes with great affection and clarity about the people she comes to know, the challenges they face and the challenges she faces, challenges that are often too immense to be overcome.

I don’t want to say too much, but I heartily recommend this book. It’s serious, and certainly not exactly light reading. Rheault’s experiences are fascinating. She and her husband, Gil, become ever more deeply involved in the world with which they’ve fallen in love and the people they have determined to help.

You can buy the book here: My Wild and Precious Life

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