|The Blue Sweater, wrapped in a blue sweater, of course.|
This book reminded me a lot of Unbowed by Wangari Maathai--non-fiction, set in Africa, strong woman changing the world, but writing...not so great. Which is a real shame about the not so-great writing because the subject matter is important. Jacqueline Novogratz is inspiring, Acumen Fund sounds amazing, Novogratz's journey of discovery about herself, the world, and how to change it is interesting. But oooh, girlfriend needed to focus. She needed an editor to help her focus. At the end of the book she tells you how this book started when she was trying to figure out the Rwandan genocides, because she lived there with great people and had lovely experiences. And the book grew from there. And then you think, Ah, yes, now I know why that part of the book (when she goes back to Africa to talk with women she worked with) felt so...plunked in there. Look--I think a lot of times probably an author has a lovely idea, but the book grows and changes and is eventually so far from that original idea that some reshaping and pruning are necessary. This book didn't get that reshaping and pruning. It could have used some finessing throughout, really, because as it is, Novogratz hops around time and places a bit too much without enough explanation for me. When she settles in and gives more background and details (helping out a bakery, getting clean water to people, building neighborhoods), the book is a lot more enjoyable.
But you know what? She probably didn't write it and edit it to my liking because she's too busy changing the world for the better so...I guess that's okay.