Read Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir by Neely Tucker Online


Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a villageForeign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a village outside the city. She’d been left to die in a field on the day she was born, abandoned in the tall brown grass that covers the highlands of Zimbabwe in the dry season. After a near-death hospital stay, and under strict doctor’s orders, the ailing child was entrusted to the care of Tucker and Vita. Within weeks Chipo, the girl-child whose name means gift, would come to mean everything to them. Still an active correspondent, Tucker crisscrossed the continent, filing stories about the uprisings in the Congo, the civil war in Sierra Leone, and the postgenocidal conflict in Rwanda. He witnessed heartbreaking scenes of devastation and violence, steeling him further to take a personal role in helping anywhere he could. At home in Harare, Vita was nursing Chipo back to health. Soon she and Tucker decided to alter their lives forever—they would adopt Chipo. That decision challenged an unspoken social norm—that foreigners should never adopt Zimbabwean children. Raised in rural Mississippi in the sixties and seventies, Tucker was familiar with the mores associated with and dictated by race. His wife, a savvy black woman whose father escaped the Jim Crow South for a new life in the industrial North, would not be deterred in her resolve to welcome Chipo into their loving family. As if their situation wasn’t tenuous enough, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was stirring up national fervor against foreigners, especially journalists, abroad and at home. At its peak, his antagonizing branded all foreign journalists personae non grata. For Tucker, the only full-time American correspondent in Zimbabwe, the declaration was a direct threat to his life and his wife’s safety, and an ultimatum to their decision to adopt the child who had already become their only daughter. Against a background of war, terrorism, disease, and unbearable uncertainty about the future, Chipo’s story emerges as an inspiring testament to the miracles that love—and dogged determination—can sometimes achieve. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant, this family memoir will resonate throughout the ages.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400080809
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir Reviews

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2018-12-09 05:09

    Onvan : Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir - Nevisande : Neely Tucker - ISBN : 1400081602 - ISBN13 : 9781400081608 - Dar 288 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2003

  • Irene
    2018-11-19 10:00

    Story of love and courage amongst the worst calamities of our time. I found myself wishing this book were longer. I'd love to read a second book beginning where this one left off.

  • Andrea Dowd
    2018-11-25 05:46

    Book Three of Summer Reading List.I got this book two years ago (maybe three) and never picked it up because I wasn't really interested in reading about families, adoption, or babies in Africa. I only plucked it from my shelves this summer so that I could fit in my one "must read" non-fiction for summer. And I was EXTREMELY SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH I LIKED IT!Neely Tucker is a white southern journalist who is married to Vita, a black, Detroit woman. After moving around the world, Tucker is posted in Zimbabwe. During the mid-late 90s, he and his wife are moved to help the smallest victims of the African AIDS crisis-the orphans and infants often clinging to the smallest thread of hope for life.They discover Chipo, an abandoned little girl barely weighing four pounds and upon death's door. It is here where the story begins as they struggle just to keep the baby alive and then their story becomes one of keeping the baby. "Love in the Driest Season" is a story about Neely and Vita's fight to this child they fell in love with against all odds. Between the government, horrific scenes of neglect and hopelessness, and their own personal hurdles, Neely Tucker some how drew me in and made me fall in love not only with Chipo but with Vita and himself.As hopeless as a memoir about adoption in Africa amidst the AIDS crisis and the ruling of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe may seem, it is a strong testament to perserverance, faith, dedication, and of course, love.Read this book...anyone who likes any kind of writing...even if you don't care about babies, adoption, AIDS, or Africa-this might change your mind.

  • Sharon
    2018-12-10 02:57

    This is such a compelling story that paucity of dialogue wasn't such a detractant, although I noticed it throughout. The story is told by a journalist, thus it reads more like the account that it is instead of a fictional story. And it's a powerful story indeed. The reader feels frustration and numbing realities along with the author. I loved this story. It's well worth the read; I listened to it on CD. The reader learns along the way, always a good thing. And the realities in Africa are chilling. This is a historical snapshot in time as well as a family memoir. I have deep respect and admiration for the author and his wife after reading this account. Books like this one bring us greater understanding of the world than we'll ever find in the nightly news in America or in newspapers. Stories like this one bring situations to a personal level, something we tend to forget that every situation really is. We need more stories like this, though the dangers to those who report them are overwhelming. Thanks to all brave enough to bring us stories of stark reality, and those brave enough to make a difference in even one life.

  • Jessica
    2018-12-05 04:44

    A moving tale of a bi-racial couple from America who meet a dying baby in an orphanage in Zimbabwe who takes there hearts. They begin a seemingly impossible struggle to save her while racing against the clock because of the husband's status as person non grata - he's a foreign correspondent during a time when the press are being blamed for all of the country's woes. This is so well written - and brought tears to my eyes twice within the first 25 pages. The author also gives a good background on the AIDS crisis that was crushing Zimbabwe. I'd recommend this to all to read but in particular if you're interested in adoption, foreign adoption, international affairs, race relations, the AIDS crisis, Africa, or public health. Or if you just want a good, well told memoir.

  • Michelle Commeyras
    2018-12-05 06:09

    I decided to read this memoir because it is about a time in Zimbabwe that I have some first hand knowledge of. I was visiting Zimbabwe between 1997 - 2000 prior to Mugabe's decision to take back the lands from White farmers. Neely Tucker and his wife were living there at that time and in this memoir you experience their frustration with bureaucracy and suspicion of American's through their efforts to adopt Chipo who was abandoned as an infant. Also of interest was the harrowing experiences Tucker has as a journalist. Really this is a testament to how loving a child will give one the strength to face all manner of adversity.

  • Jessica
    2018-12-07 06:55

    I really enjoyed this book, even though I wasn't actually expecting to. It's written by a journalist, so it's a little factual at times, but it still captured my interest from the beginning, and held it until the end.. It gave me a greater appreciation for journalists and all that they do, and also put faces on the shocking statistics of the number of orphans in Zimbabwe alone. It was comforting to know that at least one found a safe place to grow up and a family to call her own, thanks to the determination and perseverance of one couple.

  • Danielle Palmer
    2018-11-29 09:55

    This was a gripping read, but was overshadowed by the authors need to describe every death he encountered as a war correspondent in grizzly detail. He also chronicles the death of each infant in the orphanage much the same. In this case, less would have been more. Describe a couple and then move forward with the story! This book does a very good job of showing the obstacles one faces when trying to help in a foreign country (in his case, attempting to adopt). Worth the read, but prepare for some gore filled descriptions along the way.

  • Judy Collins
    2018-12-04 08:12

    Review to follow!

  • Dreamer
    2018-11-30 06:43

    Uma história verdadeira passada no Zimbabue, onde se mostra o amor e a coragem de um casal que decide ficar com uma criança contra todas as burocracias.

  • Becca
    2018-12-08 10:10

    My experience with international adoption had inspired a hunger to read as many other stories that I can. This one is one of my favorite!

  • Toni Aucoin
    2018-12-14 11:00

    This is the story of white American journalist and his black wife who are living in Africa. They spend time helping with the many babies and children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in the 90's. AIDS in the late 80's through the 90's had more than 11 million children orphaned, 95% of those were in sub-Saharan Africa. The book deals with the struggles they had trying to adopt a little girl, who, would have died without their help and desire for a child. It paints an ugly picture of Africa and their murderous leaders who would rather let these children die then let Americans adopt them. Frankly, it just paints an ugly picture.

  • Karin
    2018-12-13 07:48

    A couple is trying to adopt a dying child. But with Zimbabwee's slow child welfare department it seems like it takes forever for the system to get its act together. Along with this story is the one about the children dying in droves due to the Aids epidemic. Unfortunately the living family members can only do so much to assist their young relatives and many end up in Child Orphanages thru-out the country. When the Tuckers try to help their local orphanage by buying baby supplies, they are stolen within a short time. Well written story.

  • Tchrlynda
    2018-11-29 10:13

    I loved this book. Every paragraph was beautifully written. The characters were compelling and believable. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand more about the turmoil in Sub-Saharan Africa, the AIDS crisis and the chaos that surrounds international adoptions in spite of the heart-breaking number of orphaned babies dying in overcrowded orphanages.

  • RYCJ
    2018-12-08 10:00

    I love, Loved, LOVED this memoir. The genuine pacing, the fierce storytelling, the frank passion, the splashes of humor, and especially the deep (often innocuous) insights into West/South African culture, politics and people created a moving story. From page one to the end, this memoir is 'Capital W' a definite WINNER! Simply A Must. Highly Recommended.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-18 04:43

    Although I figured that the adoption would go through (there is a picture in the front), it was still very nerve wracking to see all that Vita and Neely went through to get Chipo. This book also illuminates what it would be like to be a reporter and the struggles of a country in Africa.

  • Blythe Russian
    2018-12-11 04:03

    What a moving story of love and devastationThis story was touching and informative. I learned so much about Zimbabwe and the plight of orphans. It was a perfect mix of facts and a personal tale of adoption.

  • Judy Phillips
    2018-11-24 07:04

    A very interesting book about life in AfricaA book not for the faint of heart but full of information about life in Africa and the government issues that the people of that nation face.

  • Wendy
    2018-12-18 09:10

    A true must read for anyone who has or will go through the adoption process. An edge of the seat story with the events happening so far away we can not imagine. This is about an incredible family journey.

  • Mckenzie
    2018-12-10 09:44

    Very touching and interesting read from an informative point of view on the happenings in Zimbabwe.

  • Kristi Burns
    2018-12-02 04:47

    An amazing memoir, beautifully written! If you love children and care about orphans this is a must read. Then ask yourself, "What can I do?"

  • Jill
    2018-12-12 05:48

    Hope and heartbreak

  • Michele Liston
    2018-12-08 08:50

    Touching and maddening at the same time. Very well written - highly recommend.

  • AJ P
    2018-11-26 07:07

    What a great book! I devoured this one in about 2.5 days. It was easy to read and well written, and had a great story.It's mostly about the adoption that the author and his wife undertook in Zimbabwe. But it also includes a lot of stuff about the author's upbringing (which I appreciated) and a lot of stuff on the journalist assignments he had across Africa, and some background into those issues (which I didn't find useful, and could have largely been left out), and a treatise of sorts on the social impact of HIV/AIDS (which was important to the story). So, because of all the different components that were included in the book, it did at times feel like it didn't know what it wanted to be - a story of adoption, a memoir of living and working in Africa, a life story, etc. But where it succeeded most was in relaying the heartbreaking (and ultimately triumphant) story of he and his wife adopting from one of the most forbidding social services in the world.They moved to Zimbabwe, started fostering, and wanted to adopt at basically the worst possible time - the late 1990s - when Zimbabwe was absolutely falling apart in every way possible. Not to mention the ability for foreigners to adopt Zimbabwean children is next to impossible at any time, but throw in a volatile government that was becoming increasingly hostile to foreigners in general - the book sometimes reads like a thriller!In the future, when I'm feeling frustrated about our journey through foster care and trying to find a viable way to adopt, I will think about the absolute torturous things this family had to go through to make it through the other side and I will try to calm down and realize things take time. Though that is hard to do.This is a great book, and I definitely recommend it on many levels!

  • Peter
    2018-12-17 05:54

    Journalist Neely Tucker’s Love in the Driest Season is a “family memoir” of Tucker and his wife, Vita quest to adopt a Zimbabwean infant named Chipo, which means “gift” in the Shona language, while he was a foreign correspondent covering Africa for the Detroit Free Press based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Love in the Driest Season is a very sweet memoir. Tucker covers a lot of ground in the 266 pages of his memoir, from the growing political decay of Zimbabwe in the late 1990s to the Tucker family history. I believe Neely wrote this book in part to make up for the fact that at the time as a foreign correspondent based in Zimbabwe that much, he did not cover the AIDS and orphan crisis in Zimbabwe, even though he knew more about the Zimbabwean orphan crisis than most other foreign correspondents that much, because writing that article would involve criticizing the Zimbabwean Ministry on which Chipo’s adoption depends. I think Neely can rest easy because this book more than fills that debt. Tucker even dedicated the book to many of the infants, who died at the orphanage of Chinyaradzo while Neely and Vita while he was living there. One of the sweetest depiction of the book is of Neely’s white, rural Mississippian father. Neely writes that as soon as Chipo become a part of his and Vita’s life, his father “seemed to forget that he hates to go north of Memphis or east of Tuscaloosa. He and my mother traveled for 38 consecutive hours-from Mississippi…to Harare-so they could see their only grandchild.” Neely, who was interested in writing a book about family and race, covers those topics as well in the context of Love in the Driest Season. This book is one of the more enjoyable and interesting memoirs, I have read.

  • Annie
    2018-11-23 02:45

    This memoir covers the life of Neely Tucker, a journalist, who while stationed in Zimbabwe, falls in love with a sweet little African girl and begins the difficult journey of international adoption. The book discusses racial matters: Neely is a white male from the deep South of Mississippi, his wife, Vita, is an African American woman from Detroit. These characteristics actually prove to be hindrances to the obstacle of adopting Chipo. The book is actually pretty intense, Neely is an active journalist correspondent, who travels to some dangerous places and lives the complete jet-set lifestyle. After reading this I could never be an internationalist journalist, at least not one that covers the subjects he did, and I could not be married to one. It is touching to see the sacrifices and changes he is willing to take to adopt his daughter. It was so frustrating to read how inept and corrupt the Zimbabwean government system proved to be, especially in regards to foreign adoptions. The descriptions of the orphanages were so heart wrenching. The AIDS epidemic/statistics/consequences were very sobering. Although depressing at times, this book is about perseverance and the triumph of a family against all odds. Favorite Quote:Sitting in that chair, my blue store apron on and a stupid look on my face, I think I understood for the first time that the word I had used said nothing about Theron, about the actor, or even about black people in general. It said boatloads, however, about me.”

  • Liralen
    2018-11-17 07:11

    I've read a handful of journalists' memoirs, and while they tend to be (unsurprisingly) written well, they're also often bogged down with external detail -- facts, history, context. All of that it important, of course -- perhaps critical -- but too much of it can overshadow the author's personal experience.What I loved about this, then, was that there is a fair amount of context (for both Mississippi and Zimbabwe), but the bulk of the story is the author's. If I could, I'd give the book four and a half stars -- I would have liked to see a bit more discussion of how Chipo's adoption might have seemed from a Zimbabwean perspective (given the importance of ritual and family ties and so on, and given how rare international adoptions are there). Granted, we get some of that in the shape of the people Tucker and his wife dealt with along the way, but perhaps a little more of the more general? I suppose I'd like to know more about views of international adoption from average Zimbabweans (i.e., ones not deciding whether or not someone may adopt.)That said, he paints a fascinating -- and often bleak -- picture of Zimbabwe from a (resident) foreigner's perspective, and Chipo's tale -- whether they'd be able to foster or adopt her; whether she'd be okay in the long run -- was extremely well written.

  • Caitlin
    2018-12-07 08:58

    Read this review and others like it at my blog Brains and Beauty.I'm not usually into nonfiction books or Africa, but my mom recommended this to me. And this book pleasantly surprised me. It’s written by Neely Tucker who comes from my part of Mississippi and even mentions my hometown. So that gave me some incentive to get into it. At its heart this book is about him and his wife trying to adopt a baby from a orphanage in Zimbabwe during the AIDS crisis on the late 1990s.I honestly had a little trouble getting into at first and thought it was little depressing. But, once I hit the halfway point I couldn’t put it down! There is so much going on with him reporting first hand during wars in Africa and how the government somewhat turns against them, and the struggle to save a little girl from possible death is riveting. I can’t believe how incredible this story is and it’s all true.If you prefer friction or are looking to get out of your reading box then I recommend you try this out. And of course it’s a great read for those interested in Africa or adoption stories.I hope you check this book out and let me know what you’re reading to get out of your book comfort zone.

  • Ida
    2018-11-28 03:01

    This memoir by journalist, Neely Tucker, evoked many different emotions as I read his account of adopting a baby from Zimbabwe while stationed in that country. There were parts that broke my heart, that made me smile and brought tears to my eyes; others that sickened me and still more that angered me intensely. Thank heavens there was a happy ending and that the love and determination of the Tuckers resulted in a joyful outcome. Although Love in the Driest Season primarily concerns the almost insurmountable struggle the Tuckers had to endure in order to adopt Chipo, an abandoned, extremely ill baby girl, it also touched on the political and social status and the AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe, a once prosperous country known as the "breadbasket of the world". Having grown up in Africa and being pretty well aware of the problems in Southern Africa, this memoir seemed very familiar to me. The gross misconduct and corruption within the government is enough to make any reasonable person insane. Parts of this story made my blood boil, knowing the desperation of thousands of people, so many of them helpless, sick, orphaned, and abandoned children. Zimbabwe is just one more of Africa's abysmal failures. Robert Mugabe and others like you, may God have mercy on your souls...or not!

  • Sue
    2018-12-10 08:47

    The author was working as a foreign correspondent based in Harare. He and his wife were unable to have children of their own, so they got involved with a local orphanage, helping out as they could. The orphanage was already experiencing tremendous loss of their infants by death. One little seriously ill girl, Chipo, grabbed Tucker's finger and his heart. They were given permission to take her home for the weekend, and then another weekend. By that point, they were so enthralled with her that they wanted to adopt. And that is when the problems really started because it was not normal for someone not from Zimbabwe to seek to adopt a child of Zimbabwe. But they knew what they wanted and sought for it. Parts of this read like journalism recounting the AIDS epidemic and the deterioration of a nation under Mugabe's regime. But the basic tale of their concern for the plight of the orphans and their determination to adopt Chipo (which means gift in Shona) is heartwarming. Their persistence in the face of the bureaucracy and, may I say it, mismanagement, is amazing. It speaks to what lengths a couple will go to in order to save a child.