When Lori, the marketing director at CCLaP Publishing and book blogger at TNBBC asked me if I wanted to review História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands by Eleanor Stanford, it was really easy to say yes.
Historia, Historia is about Eleanor’s experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde. I have a personal connection to this story because one of my cousins was in the Peace Corps in Peru (where he stayed and met his amazing wife), and one of his sisters is in the Peace Corps right now in Madagascar (did you see her post about the libraries?).
Eleanor and her husband, Dan, were in their young 20s when they went over to the Cape Verde islands to be teachers. Their story, mainly Ellie’s, is interwoven with the history of the islands as well as some of the local stories that are passed down orally.
Ellie discusses her feelings of loneliness on the islands, the inability to go with the flow as much as the natives. She feels close to a few friends, but distanced from her husband Dan. Pretty soon, she is controlling the one thing she feels able to control: her food habits and her weight.
Ellie is open to discussing her flirtation with an eating disorder, her marital issues,
and her feelings of loneliness, while still illuminating her time in the Cape Verde islands as a peaceful, calm, and worthwhile experience.
Her writing was beautiful. For instance, she wrote:
“We spent eight hours a day in a cinderblock school building that held heat like a secret”
I just love that! ”Held heat like a secret.” Beautiful metaphor that I can understand and almost feel.
Here’s another one I loved:
“We watched the sun set from our roof every evening, perched on the edge of a dark precipice; below us the ocean threw itself again and again against the cliffs.”
Historia, Historia is short, and a quick read, but still gives enough of a detailed overview of Eleanor’s experience to leave you satisfied. It reminded me of The Sex Lives of Cannibals, and if you enjoyed that nonfictional take on being a stranger in a foreign society, then you will enjoy Historia, Historia.
Take a few minutes to check out Eleanor’s website as well. There’s a 2 minute trailer for Historia, Historia that is worth the watch. And something I always love to see, if you order her book (coming out March 11) from CCLaP Publishing, 20% of the proceeds go to the Cape Verde Children’s Coalition, to help the very children that Eleanor, Dan, and other Peace Corps volunteers helped to teach.
I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Are you a roughin’ it Peace Corps type of volunteer or do you prefer the comforts of home while you’re doing something good?
Thanks for reading,