MY DEAR PAPA – Letters from a Farm in Africa
Published independently, 2016.
Kindle $4; Amazon paperback $5.49
Reviewed by Pnina Moed Kass
So many books---diaries, memoirs, and fiction-- have been written about Africa. Many of us have read Blixen, Alexandra Fuller, Nadine Gordimer, and many more who introduced us to Africa. What is a continual fascination for the non-African reader are the personal and historical events that occur with the intrusion of the European into that vast and misunderstood area of the globe.
Richelle Shem-Tov has hit upon an effective and charming literary device – fictional letters. In this manner she has been able to pick and choose her letter writers and events and thus create fascinating glimpses into the lives of a Jewish Eastern European family that came to live in Africa. In this fictional correspondence she does not ignore the family members who went to live in Palestine. In some cases she has presented the reader with a fictional character who is a blend of several people.
The book has maps, newspaper clippings, family photos, and descriptive footnotes. The author supplies the reader not only with the charm of family stories but with a rich historical background.
A well-written memoir, thoughtfully produced and a totally engaging read.