Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Book review: Emergency Sex

Fascinating memoir by three young UN peacekeeping volunteers who spend time during the early 90s in Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Haiti.

One is a doctor, one is a student in law school, the third is a aids worker whose husband is a successful manager of a modeling agency. The common thread is they are bored and ambitious, sets off to these exotic lands, finds plenty of adventure and sex, and eventually have all their idealism crushed by reality.

This book can be infuriating because the character are very self-centered and vain. But that is also the book's strength because you see their world views change bit by bit as waves of reality comes crashing down. Best parts of the book offers a first person perspective on things we only saw on CNN - the genocide in Rwanda, the battle and pullout in Somalia, the so-called elections in Cambodia. In the end you will be amazed by the dedication of the aids workers, the endurance of the people affected by war, and the incredible corruption and incompetence of UN and the US goverment.

Contrary to the description this is NOT a depressing book, but a riveting glimpse of a world most of us will never experience. Highly recommended.


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