Reviews of Monique and the Mango Rains

“As reading groups share Monique and the Mango Rains, so the conversation between friends will continue, and so too the understanding that we do know what to do to reduce the number of mothers dying unnecessarily in the most vulnerable parts of the world. We can all play our part. Just buying the book supports the ‘Clinique Monique’ in Mali and can inspire us all to bring one of the greatest injustices to women to an end.”
— Sarah Brown, President, PiggyBankKids, and Global Patron, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood
“ compelling as any novel...”
— Entertainment Weekly (EW Pick)
“...a tenuous hold on life and health is made achingly real...”
— —Boston Globe, Editorial board's favorite books of 2006
“Pick up this intriguing book only when you have time to savor each page like a bite of ripe mango, because you will not be able to put it down again until you have...”
— Midwest Book Review
“Kris Holloway’s Monique and the Mango Rains is an astounding book. In her brief narrative, Holloway tells an exquisite story of cross-cultural friendship, of women’s commitment through their work to bettering the lives of other women, and of the contribution that can be made to a Third World society by citizens of the industrialized world when hubris is not part of the equation. This strong, tender memoir is a must read for anyone interested in pan-cultural understanding and the emerging role of women’s rights in Africa. But readers, be warned; this beautifully written true tale of hope and love and loss, will, like a great novel, break your heart and leave you a changed person.”
— Marnie Mueller, author of Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island
“There have been many accounts, mostly by sociologists and anthropologists, of studying people from other cultures. But there have been few accounts of actually being friends with them. Anyone who is curious about what such a friendship feels like from the inside should read this respectful but intimate account of the bond between Kris Holloway and Monique Dembele.”
— Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
“This funny, poignant book connects us immediately with women in a far-off land; their triumphs become ours, their struggles become ours. It should be required reading for anyone considering the Peace Corps and for any student of anthropology, international studies, or women’s health. It is a tale of the potential of cross-cultural friendship and the power of intercultural exchange.”
— Carol Bellamy, Former Executive Director UNICEF & U.S. Peace Corps
“Delicious like mangos in season, you will not be able to put this incredible book down. We witness the stark reality of lives in a third-world country: the fate of babies and young children, of women dying in childbirth. But we are also there for breathtaking descriptions of beauty, generosity, and intimacy.”
— Brigitte Jordan, author of Birth in Four Cultures
“This is the story of two women who could easily have remained strangers, but who chose to ignore the vast differences in their backgrounds and open their hearts to each other and to their common humanity. Through their friendship we learn that ordinary people like Monique Dembele, living in an isolated West African village with few resources, can do extraordinary things. This is a message which deserves to be heard loud and clear, across the globe.”
— Irene Butter, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan School of Public Health
“Kris Holloway’s Monique and the Mango Rains is a highly readable account of a Peace Corps volunteer who strikes a lifelong friendship with Malian midwife Monique Dembele. It is one of the few personal accounts that describes the pleasures and frustrations of Peace Corps life, while simultaneously informing the reader of the realities of rural African life with its own particular joys and tragedies. I recommend this book for a variety of classes including the Anthropology of Development, Medical Anthropology, and Women’s Studies, or to anyone wishing to share the sheer adventure of a young American living, working, and developing friendships in a rural African village.”
— Elliot Fratkin, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Smith College
“There are many cultural and social nuances that come through this narrative. The story of Monique is the saga of a woman caught in the web of tradition. I hope the book will reach the homes of many in the West who know so little about the plight of their fellow humans battling against poverty, underdevelopment and diseases in parts of Africa. I also hope the book will also find its way back to Mali where Monique’s contemporaries and fellow Malians would take heart that loving souls exist abroad and their condition is being communicated faithfully and passionately.”
— Sulayman S. Nyang, Professor of African Studies, Howard University
“Monique and the Mango Rains is beautifully and frankly written, both an
ethnography of Malian healthcare and a coming-of-age memoir of Peace Corps participation. I entered this book curious about childbirth in rural West Africa, and learned a great deal about gender relations as they shape the meaning of children, development resources, and the many routes to Malian modernity. Like the short, sweet “mango rains” that punctuate Kris Holloway’s story, this text brings inspiration to its readers.”
— Rayna Rapp, Professor of Anthropology, New York University
“I enthusiastically recommend this book, for it allows the reader to learn about midwifery and women’s issues through the lenses of two very different cultures. It is full of warmth and insight, and having it end was like losing a friend.”
— Rahima Baldwin Dancy, midwife, author of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher