Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival

Love, Africa

This memoir by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will make you feel as though you have boarded a jet and begun a new life.

Jeffrey Gettleman, nineteen-year old college student, wanders his way into East Africa, does community service work, and falls in love with the landscapes, people, swirl of languages, and colorful clothing there. In fact, he eventually decides he must come back to live in the region, not just visit.

He returns to Cornell University and adds Swahili to his studies—nearly everyone speaks the language throughout East Africa, which began in fishing and trading. Gettleman also meets his other love in this story: Courtney, an intelligent fellow student.

The next year, Gettleman returns to Kenya to do more nonprofit work, but this time discovers that he wants to live on the road covering wars and revolutions. His new choice of journalism as a career, however, means he cannot return to Africa right away. He has to work his way up from small newspapers to one that can afford a full-time East African correspondent, like the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, or New York Times.

So he begins the slow slog of writing stories and earning credits by working for a paper in Brooksville, Florida, where he covers crimes, including murders. In one case, the lead suspect in a little girl’s death drops a fact that they both know proves he is the killer. No confession—just a slip of the tongue. Newspapers across the country run with the story.

And what about Courtney? She and Jeffrey try to keep their romance strong while living apart—she's now a criminal defense lawyer in D.C.—but distance and a lack of everyday connection sever their relationship for a time.

Finally, Gettleman gets his big break: a gig in East Africa for the New York Times. But by this time, wars, tribal divisions, and bloodshed have become weekly, if not daily, occurrences throughout the region. The book soon becomes an adventure saga, including a long march through the outback and a kidnapping.

Gettleman’s book makes for a great read that has it all: love, adventure, following the path to achieve your dream. If you have ever wondered about the daily life of a journalist in a war zone, this book will satisfy you with its exciting and tense stories and its explotation of Africa, a continent full of beauty, wildness, and interesting cultures.