FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA: A Title That’s a Whole Lot More Interesting Than the Memoir

Dear Reader,

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria’s subtitle, How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life, is a fine premise. Unfortunately, it’s not strong enough to carry the book.

Author Eve Brown-Waite falls for a Peace Corps recruiter and he falls for her, then she follows through with her Peace Corps commitment to keep from losing her recruiter. That’s it. While on assignment, a friend there is raped. Instead of giving her friend some print time, the author goes “back to Eve.” That’s it. She marries her recruiter and accompanies him to Uganda for CARE. And that’s it … until she is there a while and turns her attention away from herself and toward the people she encounters. They should have been the hub of this memoir, because only they make it interesting. They saved the book from a two-star rating.

Brown-Waite is a fine writer. She portrays her pre-Peace Corps self with charming self-deprecation and humor, and she has lots of enthusiasm for her topic. But she doesn’t pay enough attention to her readers’ needs, so they don’t care about her story all that much.

Who will enjoy this book? Peace Corp and CARE alumni, some women, and people interested in what it was like to live in Uganda.

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