(Disclaimer: Jess Guillver sent me this to review, whilst working at Penguin Random House. She currently works at Little, Brown. What follows is my own, honest opinion.)
Since studying it as a younger student, I have come to love Russian history-exploring the regimes of the Tsar’s, or looking into the revolutionary days of Lenin. This is a memoir of Sophie Pinkham, in the post-soviet union era. With an almost lyrical eye for detail, as well as black humor, it’s quite the read. And any history student-like myself-could be reading this.
It also made me feel that I should be helping out just a little bit more: Pinkham tried to help out, in a Red Cross exchange, to combat the HIV and AID’S epidemic. Which, to be honest, I think was quite noble. But the levels of documented bureaucracy shocked me: HIV positive small children with no long term future plan; denial that there was even an epidemic; profit made between the exchange student places. It’s haunting, a book that’s read with no concept of time passing.
The Pinkham of this book is just so alive on the page. It’s almost as if you can see the Russia that she knew in your minds eye: people, contrasted by place and time. Beautiful.
If you would like an affirmative read, in a way, then this is the book for you.