Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--Tea anyone?

Up for today:  THREE CUPS OF TEA by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson: Book Cover

Why I bought it? I had heard it recommended over and over. I had seen it at the book store a few times and almost gotten it. I was running errands with my daughter at Target and stopped by the books and finally grabbed it. The cover above is the one I got although I really like the other two covers I found. I included them so you could see. As most of you know, I'm a big fan of a good cover. The funny thing about this book to me is that I kept thinking it was a novel. I never actually read the blurb on the back (which I practically always do). For those that don't already know, it's not a novel at all.

Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin: Book Cover

Synopsis:  Mortenson was a climber in his younger years and made an attempt at K2. He got separated from his group and turned around. He failed to reach the summit. The altitude and cold were taking their toll, and he started feeling bad and tried to go back down to their last base camp area. He missed the path to it and ended up in a little village that changed the course of his life. They nursed him back to health, and before he left he promised to build them a school. He was not a wealthy man, so he had to figure out how to raise the money. This book shares Mortenson's amazing perseverance and charisma that has brought 55 (in 2006) schools to some of the poorest people in the world--in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In a lot of ways he's fighting the war on terror with education.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson: Book Cover

What I thought? I was blown away by all that Mortenson has accomplished--how dedicated he was to making it happen. He's a rare breed of person. He saw a need and has dedicated his life to filling that need. If only there were more people like him in the world! The author is actually Relin. He recounts Mortenson's story. There were times I was put off by his way of telling things, but the story is such a compelling one that I let a lot of that slide. A friend of mine gave up on it though, because she found it too slow moving. I didn't really have that problem. I wouldn't pass this book up for that. I would say, if you start getting bogged down, just skim to where things pick up again. Finding out what Mortenson has accomplished is worth it. It was quite an education into the world of Islam and the Taliban, etc., as well, which I think all Americans need. 

My Rating: **** out of 5 stars. It probably gets that many because of how much respect I now have for Mortenson and his compassion and triumphs.

Cleanness Score: 4 out of 10, This is mostly for violent situations. 


celeste said...

First to comment! Haven't read this one but I always appreciate your reviews! Have an incredible book for your next read and review. Please read "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout. I've never read a book quite like it. The form and structure of the book is totally unique. Here's a quick review to whet your appetite.

"One of the year's best...a piece of multitextured music-(and) a great piece of writing about life in small town America...a fascinating collection...Strout's writing here is deep and masterful...If you're going to read one book of short fiction this year, make it this one"
-Vanity Fair-

Tess said...

I've read this one and kept wanting to to be a novel, too. Once I let that go, I enjoyed the reading much more. Fantastic information, but a dry read at points. Still, very worthwhile.

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, this sounds amazing! It makes me wonder if I'd have that kind of resolve to accomplish those kind of feats. I would hope so!

I'm enjoying your posts, Lois! Missed you around here!

beth said...

I have heard so so so many good things about this one. The best? The high school kids are reading and liking it.

T. Anne said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who skims until it picks up again. Thanx for the review, I see this book everywhere!

Yat-Yee said...

Thanks for the review. Do you mind elaborating on what put you off with regards to the way the story is told? Is it the writing itself or the attitude of the author?

If you don't feel comfortable doing it, it's fine too.

Davin Malasarn said...

Lois, Thanks a lot for reviewing this book! I've been so interested in it, but never actually got around to reading it. And, according to your synopsis, it is very different from what I expected it to be.

lotusgirl said...

Celeste that sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out.

Tess, Mortenson is pretty amazing, huh?

Glam, I think it's a matter of how you handle what you're faced with. He's not been someone who's been home with his children. I think his wife is pretty amazing to support him the way that she does.

Beth, I bet the high schoolers are. The story is so great. You should read it.

T. Anne, I didn't skim on this one, but I can see why someone would. There are parts that get repetitious.

Yat-Yee, It is the writing itself. I found it tedious sometimes and a bit repetitious and sometimes a little too scholarly for the type of book it is. Despite it's faults, I loved it. The author's attitude didn't bother me at all.

Davin, In my synopsis I really give more the set up. The book tells all the things that Mortenson went through to get the schools built especially the first one because it was the hardest and started the ball rolling.

Robyn Campbell said...

Wonderful review Lois. It sounds like he has sacrificed a lot. Thanks for giving such an in depth review. I love those. It sounds like a great read. :)

Kelly H-Y said...

His story is so amazing and inspiring! Thanks for the great review! The children's book version is fabulous too!