Forum Navigation: Forum Index » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Non-Fiction Books

Want FREE books and FREE Amazon gift cards?

Each day we announce via email a book that is either FREE or on a temporary sale at a great discount price. These are not your average free books. These are incredible insider deals on well-rated books. OnlineBookClub.org is where tomorrow's bestsellers are born. We also give away over $1,000 per month of free Amazon gift cards in free daily giveaways, exclusively to those signed up to these announcements! Hurry, sign up free now:

Sorry, this proves you are human.

Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#1 by Elaine5
» 12 Mar 2017, 14:07

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Bucket of Warm Water" by Heather Allen.]

Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Review by Elaine5
Share This Review

A Bucket of Warm Water is the story of the author and her husband's four year stay in the small African village of Dungu, Zaire. They are Canadians who were working for an NGO funded primarily by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Brendan worked as a medical transport pilot and Heather (Carole) as an English teacher.

Carole and Brendan had grown children and a content life in British Columbia when the opportunity to work in Zaire presented itself. They were ready for adventure and prepared to embrace an opportunity to improve their French language skills and make a contribution. The author caught my attention in the foreward when she wrote "What we couldn’t possibly appreciate was how deeply we would grow to love the people, how much we would learn in four short years, and how utterly grateful we would become for the experience." The book is a beautifully written memoir of that experience and that foreshadowing was one of many that highlighted the delightful unpredictability that life often brings. Our expectations are often surpassed and moments that seem small or insignificant can be life changing in retrospect. These truths came through loud and clear.

The author gently and insightfully writes about politics, disease, education (or lack of) for women, poverty, corruption and war through her own personal experiences in Zaire. When they first arrive in 1989, things are relatively stable in and around Dungu. This allows them to comfortably settle into village life and adjust to their new world. As time goes on, the political situation in Zaire and surrounding countries becomes less and less stable, creating situations that an average Canadian could hardly imagine. After buying green tomatoes from a young boy so that he could buy malaria medication, the author wrote "I longed for the security of Canada where children didn’t go hungry and mothers didn’t search every day for almost enough food to feed their family."

The writing is introspective, contrasting the Canadian and African cultures as lived by Carole and Brendon. The sense of community and generosity in Dungu versus the individual nature of North American culture stood out as a theme. Even the poorest families in Dungu welcomed refugees fleeing looting and riots in larger cities. If a guest was at the table, he was generously fed, even if it meant going without tomorrow. Other contrasts were also highlighted such as the reality and closeness of death versus our somewhat removed, antiseptic view of it. Another was the life and death nature of politics as opposed to it being "a mere abstraction to be debated over dinner."

The reader also gets to know others who live in Dungu through Carole's relationships. She makes meaningful connections and I enjoyed reading about her friendships. It was obvious that she came to love and care for several people as family. It was also wonderful to learn about some of the traditions and beliefs of this very different culture. For example, when a man drowned in the river, the community gathered to sing and light fires to entice the water spirits to return the body to them.

Unfortunately, there are several errors in the book that did detract from my enjoyment of it. One error that was found repeatedly seemed to be a formatting error where a new paragraph was started mid sentence. I also noted some missing words and typing errors.

Overall, I found this to be a beautiful book about a very human, life changing experience. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys memoirs and stories of personal growth. I would particularly recommend it to anyone with an interest in international aid. The errors in the book force me to deduct a star and rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.

******
A Bucket of Warm Water
View: on Bookshelves

Like Elaine5's review? Post a comment saying so!
User avatar
Elaine5
 
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Aug 2016, 15:58
Location: Western Quebec, Canada
Currently Reading: Great Expectations
Bookshelf Size: 46 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Did you know?
 
Once you join the forums and log in you will get to enjoy a very ad-reduced experience. It's easy and completely free!

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#2 by kandscreeley
» 15 Mar 2017, 07:40

It's always enlightening to learn about another culture especially one such as this. It sounds like the author did a good job in the treatment of the subject even with the few errors. Thanks for the review.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 2559
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
Currently Reading: Strong Heart
Bookshelf Size: 98 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 80%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#3 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 15 Mar 2017, 07:56

This sounds like a wonderful memoir. It is wise to learn about other cultures, as it helps one become a more whole person. We can't all travel to the different countries, so a good memoir like this helps expand horizons. Thanks for the review! :tiphat:
"no one down here" --- Up the Down Staircase
greenstripedgiraffe's Latest Review: "The War Within, the Story of Josef" by Patricia Walkow
User avatar
greenstripedgiraffe
 
Posts: 573
Joined: 22 Oct 2015, 10:47
Currently Reading: Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships
Bookshelf Size: 215 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#4 by Elaine5
» 15 Mar 2017, 11:11

Yes, it is a wonderful memoir and it was a wonderful way to learn about another culture. Enlightening indeed! Thank you both for your comments.
User avatar
Elaine5
 
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Aug 2016, 15:58
Location: Western Quebec, Canada
Currently Reading: Great Expectations
Bookshelf Size: 46 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#5 by gali
» 17 Mar 2017, 09:01

Sounds like an interesting memoir. It is great when one can learn about other cultures through the book. Too about the errors, though. Thank you for the great review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
gali's Latest Review: "Enough Rope" by P.L. Doss
User avatar
gali
Site Admin
 
Posts: 24251
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
Location: Lost in a good book
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
Currently Reading: The Cat Who Played Post Office
Bookshelf Size: 1653 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle (E-Ink)
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 74%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#6 by Elaine5
» 17 Mar 2017, 10:36

Definitely interesting! Thanks for commenting.
User avatar
Elaine5
 
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Aug 2016, 15:58
Location: Western Quebec, Canada
Currently Reading: Great Expectations
Bookshelf Size: 46 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#7 by RosesReviews
» 05 Apr 2017, 19:58

Thank you very much for this review! This sounds like a wonderful book to read. You mentioned that,"the author gently and insightfully writes about politics,disease,education(or lack of) for women, poverty, corruption, and war...". After having heard in vivid detail of the atrocities in different countries, I worry about how detailed stories of war are for the more sensitive readers of this book. It sounds like a wonderful story of an amazing couple's life.
User avatar
RosesReviews
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 05 Apr 2017, 10:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 31 books
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#8 by Elaine5
» 06 Apr 2017, 09:50

The book does describe real and disturbing situations related to war but not with graphic violence or bloody detail. It's not the gasp worthy descriptions that I have read in some books which is why I described it as "gentle". It really is a wonderful book.
User avatar
Elaine5
 
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Aug 2016, 15:58
Location: Western Quebec, Canada
Currently Reading: Great Expectations
Bookshelf Size: 46 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#9 by kimmyschemy06
» 10 Apr 2017, 09:28

Sounds like a very interesting book. I love to learn about African culture and this seems like a great book to read. Too bad, though, about the errors. Good job on the review.
User avatar
kimmyschemy06
 
Posts: 1845
Joined: 20 Oct 2015, 20:49
Currently Reading: Men, Wars and Sex of the 60's
Bookshelf Size: 334 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 50 Books
Goal Completion: 94%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#10 by Elaine5
» 18 Apr 2017, 10:28

Thanks for your comments. I would recommend it in spite of the errors.
User avatar
Elaine5
 
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Aug 2016, 15:58
Location: Western Quebec, Canada
Currently Reading: Great Expectations
Bookshelf Size: 46 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#11 by bookowlie
» 19 Apr 2017, 23:31

Great review! The constrast of the two cultures sounds very interesting. It's a shame about the formatting errors. I also read a book a few months ago that had several incorrect paragraph breaks in the middle of senteces. It was maddening!
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6160
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 241 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 67%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#12 by Elaine5
» 27 Apr 2017, 06:03

Thanks bookowlie! It is very interesting indeed.
User avatar
Elaine5
 
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Aug 2016, 15:58
Location: Western Quebec, Canada
Currently Reading: Great Expectations
Bookshelf Size: 46 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#13 by jamesabr
» 30 Apr 2017, 05:26

Carole's introspection of the environment she's in when she shifts from her English teaching job to the African village sounds like it's worth reading. It's been a while since I've sampled a work that concerned conflicts in an African country, so this will definitely be intriguing. I look forward to reading this based on your thorough review.
jamesabr's Latest Review: "Adam Exitus" by Nicholas Abdilla
User avatar
jamesabr
 
Posts: 319
Joined: 08 Dec 2016, 18:37
Currently Reading: The Gulf
Bookshelf Size: 45 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Samsung Galaxy Tab Nook Edition
2017 Reading Goal: 12 Books
Goal Completion: 66%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#14 by Scerakor
» 30 Apr 2017, 05:53

This is one of those things that perhaps a lot of people dream of doing but either never get the opportunity or simply never take it for a variety of reasons. Maybe this book will encourage others to help out those of need or, at the very least, highlight some of the conditions that we tend to ignore as North Americans. Thanks for the review.
Scerakor's Latest Review: "Sin & Redemption" by James E. McCarthy
User avatar
Scerakor
 
Posts: 465
Joined: 13 May 2013, 13:43
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 68 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: A Bucket of Warm Water by Heather Allen

Post Number:#15 by GCamer
» 30 Apr 2017, 07:00

I agree with Scerakor. Many people wants to help but sometimes fear or just lack of motivation keeps them from taking that step. Going to a foreign country to volunteer is very rewarding. We could learn from the author about the life lessons she gained during their stay in Africa.
GCamer's Latest Review: "The Expansion" by Christoph Martin
User avatar
GCamer
 
Posts: 186
Joined: 11 Mar 2017, 21:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 135 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: judith kkerubo and 13 guests

Navigation

Return Home » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Non-Fiction Books