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This book. I remember my best friend reading it in college. She told me how much she enjoyed it, and as she explained what it was about, I remember thinking “I’d never enjoy that.” Back then I still was not open to reading nonfiction, like AT ALL. Still, the fact that she liked the book stuck with me. Eventually I picked it up at a book sale or used store somewhere, I don’t really remember, deciding to give it a try. It has sat on my bookshelf for quite a while. Then, as I was perusing the audiobooks section of my library, I spotted it! I needed some more listening material for driving, and figured if I was ever going to read the book, it would be in the car when I had nothing else to do. So I checked it out and proceeded to listen to it rather than read it.
Three Cups of Tea is proof that sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised by a book.
It starts out with Greg Mortenson, entering a tiny village of Pakistan after a failed climbing expedition. He comes to learn about the people there, and the fact that they have no school for their children, especially the girls, gets to him. He decides to come back and build a school for them. He writes about the ups and downs of his journey, and how one school turned into hundreds, throughout both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I am amazed at what Mortenson was able to accomplish in the beginning, all on his own. I can’t even imagine that kind of undertaking, and he just up and decided on a whim to go for it. He had so many instances where he could have given up and thrown in the towel, but he didn’t. Never giving up is a very commendable trait.
I enjoyed the insight into their culture, as I know so little about it. If for no other reason, this book is worth reading to get a sense of how their society evolved from the 90’s through the 2000’s, to see their side of what happened. The idea of fighting terrorism with education is a great one, in my opinion, and an idea that should be shared.
My only complaint is really about the audiobook, not the book itself. I found the narrator’s voice to be pretty grating at first, and it took me a while to get used to it. I like audio, but I’d recommend reading the actual book this time around.
05/27/14 Edit: Thank you to Ldw5018, who suggested I look up recent news articles about Greg Mortenson. It amazes me the number of people willing to make up stories just to earn a few more bucks… if that’s what you want to do, then call it fiction based on true events, not nonfiction! This makes me think back to A Million Little Pieces. Not to mention the fact that his charity has clearly gone to the wayside, like so many others when money starts to roll in. Sigh, I lost some more faith in humanity today.
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