Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson

This was the book club pick for January... picked and announced in November (since we don't read in December so we can get together for a holiday party instead)... and totally hyped by my dear friend Melissa, the newest addition to my beloved book club, who picked it.  Before I tell you what I thought, let me tell you why the deck was stacked against me from the beginning.  First, I had two months to read this - procrastinators and crazy do-it-all's take note.  So while I bought it right away, I didn't pick it up right away.  Second, I'd been hearing about how AMAZING this book was from Melissa since she'd read it over a year ago - so I ASSUMED it would also be a quick and fascinating read.  These two facts actually combined to create a perfect storm for me.  A storm who's consequence was not having it finished before the discussion.

The full title of this book is "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time" and is a non-fiction account of an American climber who gets lost in Pakistan after a failed attempt at climbing K2.  He is taken in by a local village and in order to pay them back promises to return to build them a school.  The village becomes his second family in the decade to follow and he goes on to build many more schools and do extremely amazing things for the remote villages of Pakistan and, eventually, Afghanistan.  The story itself is amazing with all the things this man who basically lives out of his car in order to scrape enough money together to fulfill his promise goes through.  And it is very eye opening about the Muslim religion and how very different it is from the picture of fear and extremism we are fed by the media.  The whole "theme" of the story is how education is the key to peace and how we all should be promoting the education of our children no matter what or how.  We had an amazing book club discussion - although because of the subject matter it was very easy to get sidetracked off of the book and onto current events with all the fervor a political discussion can get with 20 women in the room.

While this book IS amazing, it is hard to get into in the beginning which most people who voiced an opinion at the discussion agreed with.  For me, the writing style was way too dry - it read more like a newspaper story than a novel - and jumped around with little sense of why which made it hard to get lost in the story and easy to put down.  Which, since I had two months to read before the deadline, I did too often.  As a result, I had just gotten to the good part - halfway through the book - when it becomes harder to put down when it was time for book club.  I subsequently finished the book and am glad I read it.  If it weren't for my expectations and assumptions of it being a quick read I would have had it finished in time...

1 comment:

diyeana said...

haha I'm glad you liked it in the end though. :) It is an amazing story.