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Melissa's New York Times piece (December 2002) on the plight of the AIDS orphans inspired many adoptions and generated $75,000 in donations for Africa's orphanagesHer first two books, Praying for Sheetrock and The Temple Bombing, were National Book Award finalists

About the Author

Melissa Fay Greene is the highly acclaimed author of Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing (both shortlisted for a National Book Award) and Last Man Out. Sheetrock was included in the 'J' list, compiled by New York University, of the top 100 works of journalism in the 20th century. Greene's December 2002 New York Times magazine article on the plight of the AIDS orphans inspired scores of adoptions and an outpouring of financial support for African orphanages and clinics. She and her husband, Don Samuel, live in Atlanta with their seven children, including two adopted from Ethiopia.


Greene here relates the plight of AIDS-stricken families in Ethiopia, which has one of the highest levels of infection on the continent. The disease carries a strong social stigma as well. Children orphaned by the disease have virtually no chance of being adopted or cared for in their home country. Through happenstance, Haregewoin Teferra, a widow, ends up running an unofficial orphanage and day school out of her home in Addis Ababa for children left homeless by this pandemic. The author alternates the very human story of Teferra and her big heart with history and facts about Ethiopia and the critical issue of AIDS in Africa. Greene (The Temple Bombing), the adoptive parent of two Ethiopian children, tells a story that deserves a wide audience. The narration by actress Julie Fain Lawrence is smooth and satisfying; highly recommended for all public libraries.-Karen Fauls-Traynor, Sullivan Free Lib., Chittenango, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'More than a vivid, readable account of individual courage in the face of apparently overwhelming odds, this is an important book' The Times 'Interweaving research about the dreaded disease with Haregewoin's incredible story, and that of Ethiopia with her own, the author has written a powerful book with heart' Choice 'A gripping narrative about the AIDS pandemic in Africa' Life 'Unforgettable ... Greene brings Africa's AIDS catastrophe to us as bracingly as the movie Hotel Rwanda brought home the horrors of genocide' More

Lawrence's sincere and emphatic rendering of Greene's words only add to the hopeful yet solemn tone throughout this tale of Haregewoin Teferra, a woman who turned her compound into a home for children with or orphaned by AIDS. Greene keenly connects the broad histories of African colonization, Ethiopia's political changes and AIDS with the personal lives of Ethiopians and most AIDS victims in the Third World. She covers a wide range of topics including profiles of the many children who come to stay with Teferra, contemporary debates about the origin of AIDS and the social effect AIDS has on Ethiopia in terms of production and stability. With so many avenues, some narrators might become inconsistent or incapable of handling redirection, but Lawrence fluctuates her voice according to the need of the text. Lawrence segues unhesitatingly whether using a more reserved and tempered voice for the historical insertions, emphasizing particular words in a definition or relaying a bemusing story about a child. Music at the end of each CD prepares listeners for the change, but it's Lawrence who creates the mood and atmosphere. Simultaneous release with the Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, July 17). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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