Review: Crossroads

February 14, 2016 Uncategorized 11 ★★★

Review: CrossroadsTitle: Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today's Uganda
Author: Christopher Conte
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: The value of this book for learning about another culture makes me want to tell everyone to pick this up, but the writing was average at best.

“They are rooted in their culture’s rich traditions, yet they stand at the cutting edge of change. This is the crossroads where many Ugandan women find themselves today. With dignity and grace, they play a complex social role, balancing worldly sophistication with reverence for the values of their upbringing.In Crossroads, a group of these women explore the past that shaped them and the future they hope to build, telling varied stories about a rapidly changing society where they serve both as guardians of culture and harbingers of reform.” (Source)

My feelings about this collection of essays is mixed. I loved that this book helped me start to rectify my complete ignorance about the social and political climate in Uganda. I thought the women who wrote this collection did an impressive job conveying the contradictions they must reconcile every day – tradition and feminism, tradition and imported religions. It was clear to me that there are no easy answers and that individual women might feel torn or even hold multiple contradictory beliefs. As the book went on, the stories dealt with more and more horrifying violence and oppression. These stories included imprisonment, torture, rape, and pedophilia. I felt horror and even fear as I read these stories. I think the women who lived through such terrible events and are now brave enough to share them are incredible people.

Where this collection fell short for me was the writing. I’m fairly certain that this book was written in English, not translated, and I would guess that for most of the authors, English is their second language. This showed in the simplicity of the language and sometimes odd phrasing. The editing wasn’t bad, but a handful of typos did also make it through. I debated about how many stars to give this book, because it is a book that I think everyone would benefit from reading. However, I decided that to give a book a better rating simply because it tackles important topics would be misleading. I didn’t love this book the way I have some other books that tackle tough topics. I thought it was equally worthwhile, but could still use a little polish.

11 Responses to “Review: Crossroads”

  1. susan

    Sounds like an important book in knowing more about Ugandan women. I’m enjoying the Adichie novel now Americanah — and it makes me want to branch out to other African stories. So thanks for the heads up on Crossroads.

    • DoingDewey

      I have yet to read anything by Adichie, but I’d really like to fix that! It sounds as though everything she’s written is pretty awesome. I wish I could find more books by African authors myself, so I was happy to share this one.

  2. Rachel

    Oh. I hate typos in books. I know I see them in ARCs, but I understand that they haven’t been fully edited yet. But in a published book it’s unforgivable (even by independent authors). Sorry the book wasn’t as fantastic as it looks.

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! I’m willing to completely ignore typos in ARCs, but nothing about this book or about what was said to me about it suggests that it’s an ARC. I’m glad I gave it a try, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.

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