Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book #21 - Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea
Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

Oh, what to say about this book...

First the positive: I really do love the underlying message of this book. What Greg Mortenson is doing is admirable and I really do think his heart is in the right place. He says that by educating the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, that is what will bring peace and help to rid the area of terrorism. And I think that he is exactly right. These people do need education, the right kind of education, and I admire him for doing what he does.

Then the negative: I know a lot of people have raved about this book. But the more I think of many of the things throughout the book, the more I don't like it. First of all, I did not like the writing at all. This book took me almost 2 weeks to read, the longest it has taken me to read any book this year, mostly because the writing just wasn't that interesting to me. The author goes off on a lot of tangents and doesn't seem to stay focused on what he is talking about. Second, I don't really know why Greg Mortenson is listed as an author. There are many quotes from him throughout the book, but it is obvious that the book is written by David Oliver Relin. And from the writing, you can tell that Davie Oliver Relin practically worships Greg Mortenson. There are many references where he makes it sound like Greg Mortenson is the only one who can do this work and that if it weren't for him, the whole world would fall apart. Third, I really felt like there was some sort of political undertones that I just couldn't get past. The book, past Sept. 11, feels like they bash on the US government constantly. And the message that I got from the book was that the US government was doing everything wrong and that Greg Mortenson was doing everything right. He complains that the government isn't doing anything, but then when he is offered millions of dollars to continue to build schools, he passes it up. It all just felt really negative and one-sided. If my husband was serving in the military in Afganistan, I would actually have felt very offended by some of the things that were said. I also hated that he publicly named people that said they were going to donate money but didn't end up donating. I sure hope the names were changed in the book to protect these people. I agree that they shouldn't have promised anything without delivering, but no one deserves to be called out so publicly. And I also feel bad for Greg Mortenson's family and wife. I don't know how they do it, because from the sounds of the book, they see him about 2 seconds a year. I know what he is doing is admirable, but not at the sake of a family. I wish he would share the responsibilities, but from the sounds of it, he doesn't think that anyone else is capable enough to do what he is doing.

Wow - I don't usually write this much about the books I read, but this one really struck a chord on many different points. Am I saying not to read it? No - because I know many people have read it and really liked it. But I was looking for a book that would inspire me, but it was all just too negative for me. And he doesn't make you feel like you can go out and make a difference. Which is kind of what I was hoping for. I feel bad for saying so many negative things about this book when I truly do believe in his purpose, but I just think this story could have been told so much better!

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