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Reviewed by Lexie Fox for Readers' Favorite
The Color of the Elephant: Memoir of a Muzungu is the new autobiographical work from Christine Herbert. Covering several years of the author's life spent in the Peace Corps, the book shares her experiences of working in healthcare and education in Zambia. Covering a broad spectrum of anecdotes and incidents during her time in the country, the book uses an unusual present-tense method of storytelling to explore the many memories made during a deeply meaningful adventure out in the world. It is an approach that constantly challenges the reader to appreciate the small, taken-for-granted things that they enjoy in their lives.
This was a deeply engaging memoir that was brought to life not just by the candid attitude of the author being willing to share every part of her experiences, but also by the accessible and human way that Christine Herbert has of talking about them. It’s a masterstroke in a memoir such as this, which seeks to describe events very few of us will ever encounter in such a charming manner. No reader is left behind as The Color of the Elephant details every step of the author’s two-year journey to do her part in helping the people of Zambia. As the journey proceeds, the frankness with which the author discusses her mistakes and hardships creates an emotional investment in the reader that is only one small step away from physically having been there with her. An essential read for people interested in emotionally appealing and colorful memoirs.