Squirting Milk at Chameleons: An Accidental African, an intriguing title for an equally intriguing story from first-time author Simon Fenton.
Simon Fenton is a Brit, who, from a young age, was seized by the urge to travel. After a number of years in Asia, mainly Vietnam, he visited Africa, including Senegal in West Africa, where he met and fell in love with a young Senegalese woman called Khady. Like a good boy, Simon eventually returned home to England, but Africa and Khady were already in his blood. When he discovers Khady is pregnant, he decides to return to Senegal and build a family in this strange and unusual country.
I've read a number of memoirs, but this one resonated with me more than most and I suspect it is because Fenton did something similar to what I did, but he went far more extreme than I did. I thought it was a major wrench to leave my safe life in New Zealand for the teeming metropolis of Manila in the Philippines, but that pales in comparison to Fenton's choice of Senegal over Brighton, England.
The book is basically a tale of his first year in Senegal and details the many trials and tribulations he faced in trying to settle into a new life in a very foreign environment. The story is fascinating, the writing easy and conversational. He brings us his clear love of the country, as well as a healthy cynicism as to many of the cultural practices of deepest, darkest Africa.
I think many readers will ask themselves; WHY? Why would you give up everything the West has to offer, for life where every day is a constant struggle against the heat, insects, corruption, mysticism, and the ever present attitude whenever anything goes wrong; "This is Africa!"? I think Fenton answer those doubts extremely well. It is clear from the story that despite all the problems, the rewards are more than compensation. He clearly loves his home and his family and is now well settled, with a small guest house he has built to host foreign tourists and provide him with someone to speak English with. I can identify with that desire, Simon.
This is a fantastic book for a quick read or to discover something about a region of the world that few of us know too much about. I highly recommend Squirting Milk at Chameleons: An Accidental African by Simon Fenton.
If you want to find out more about Simon Fenton and his Senegalese resort "Little Baobab, or you want to check out his blog, then visit his websites here:
When you pick up a memoir to read, I guess you can be certain of two things; either you are going to read a tale of abuse, a heroic tale...or often a mixture of both. The reality is people who lead normal, everyday lives, don't tend to write memoirs. Naturally, when I first picked up Ghost No More, by CeeCee James, I guessed it was a book about child-abuse and I wasn't wrong.
Ghost No More, details, in the main, the early years of CeeCee James' life. I think in her two sequels, she explores in greater detail her late teenage years as well as her adult years. I'm not sure if there are "levels" of child abuse, but if there are, then James' experiences are definitely at the extreme end of that continuum. Her treatment, by almost everyone who was "supposed" to love, care and protect her was appalling, by any standards and one was left with this horrible sinking feeling that her case might not even be unusual, which is an indictment on the society we live in.
Despite the abuse she suffered, James' retelling of her childhood is done in a calm and very restrained manner. Unlike many books in this genre, James' chose not to be explicit in her detailing of much of the abuse she was subjected to. Clearly, this was a conscious decision, possibly governed by her faith and morality and for me, as a reader, it was refreshing not to have to wade through horrific tales of, especially, sexual abuse.
I enjoyed the reflective, self-examining style the author chose to write this book in. In many ways, the terrible life she endured, as a child, was often balanced by the whimsical thoughts she also indulged in, to try to cope with the horrors of her childhood.
I imagine it takes immense courage to put your feelings and emotions out there on public display when you have suffered so terribly, as she has. I think it is probably a sign of the acceptance and understanding of herself now, in her adult years, as a mother herself, that has allowed her to do this. I have no doubt there was a cathartic element to this story for her, but she has to be congratulated for fearlessly and honestly detailing her innermost thoughts and self-loathing, throughout those tumultuous years. More power to her for that.
I look forward to reading her other two offerings in this series; Fear No More and Lost No More. I would highly recommend this book as essential reading for anyone who feels life has dealt them some tough cards to play with. When faced with struggles, it never hurts to remind ourselves that "there but for the Grace of God, go I!". The real benefit of this type of memoir is in that very message; the human spirit is capable of dealing with and overcoming even the greatest of pain and suffering. CeeCee James does well to remind us of that in this fine book. I can just congratulate James on her courage and fortitude. She teaches us well.
Now this is what I'm talking about!
Finally, a how-to book on the market that actually tells you how to actually do something. So often these books about how to succeed at this online venture or that money-making scheme are so full of the proverbial, they aren't worth the paper they're not printed on. This is different.
Written by Eeva Lancaster, who has already achieved what she is teaching in this book, the book will take you on a step-by-step process to becoming on Online Freelancer.
Now, I've already discovered my dream and I have my course well planned and plotted, but after reading this book, even I was asking myself if this was a direction that I should possibly consider. Fortunately, for my own dreams, I managed to push that thought into the background, but that gives you some idea of the power of this little book and the effort the author has put into sharing her vast knowledge of the online freelancing world, with us, the readers.
Lancaster doesn't sugar coat it or paint this course of action as the solution for everyone. What she does do is simply and clearly outline the benefits, the pitfalls and the steps you need to take to become an Online Freelancer. I have no doubt at all that if you follow the steps in this book, work hard and be prepared to build your business over time, you will be successful.
If you've ever dreamed of leaving the rat-race and joining the world of Online Freelancing, then the small price you would pay for this book, is an investment that will be returned many times over, I can assure you. Kudos to the author for producing this excellent book for a rapidly growing niche in our employment economy.
As an aside, knowing full well Lancaster was an editor, I was very much on the lookout for any mistakes in her book. I am pleased to say, I didn't find any and perhaps that speaks volumes for the ability of this particular Online Freelancer.
An excellent reference book and one I'm sure many will benefit from. In its niche, it is the best how-to book I've read in a very long time, if not ever.
SQUIRTING MILK AT CHAMELEONS: AN ACCIDENTAL AFRICAN by SIMON FENTON.
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME