Sunday, July 11, 2010

The White Masai by Corinne Hoffman

This was a book we were going to read in our ladies's book club, but the person who suggested it changed her mind. i had already bought the book so i am currently reading it. have any of you read the book? i would love to hear your thoughts on it. i am about a third of the way through the book and i will finish it even though i don't really like it. i think the author is a selfish, crazy woman who acts as if she is a demanding spoiled teenager. she is on a trip to Africa w/ her boyfriend and sees this Masai warrior standing there. She instantly falls in love and has to get to meet him. she's there with her boyfriend but could care less about him now that she's seen this warrior. she becomes obsessed w/ meeting him and becoming his woman. what i do like is the info on the Masai culture and a description of life in Kenya. as a social studies book it has its merits. as her personal story, yuck! she really becomes obsessed. she has written 2 more books about this man and i definitely won't be buying and reading them. the people i have talked to who have read the book said the same thing. one person couldn't make herself finish the book. i
would really be curious to hear from all of you good people out there. maybe you have a different perspective and i would love to hear it.

12 comments:

  1. i did finish reading this book, The White Masai. my opinion of the main character, who is also the author, has not changed. she acted like an obsessed 14-year-old. the study of the Masai culture and Kenya was the books only redeeming quality. i must say, though, that i was impressed by the fact that she could adapt to the Masai lifestyle. i am pretty certain that i could not go from my present culture to living in a hut with piles of cow dung and tons of flies outside my hovel door. we have all seen the articles in National Geographic about the Masai culture, but this really was an in depth study. that part of the book i enjoyed.

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  2. Let me say that the author has never lived with the Masai community, but well in the North of Kenya, among the Samburu tribe. Although they are very near from each other by traditions, culture and language, they are well distinct tribes in Kenya.
    To put the name "Masai" in the title of the book is a guaranty of good business as the Masai people are more know by the Western World than the Samburu. I am quite reluctant to speak about a deep study of this culture, for, after 4 years spent with the Samburu people, the author was not yet able to speak or to understand fluently this language. I have read the three books, seen the movies, and I judge them very superficial. Some of her reactions described in the book conform me in this idea.
    I will add that I myself am an European woman too, living since 15 years among the Samburu community and speaking the language fluently. I think her work is a commercial success, much more than a ethnological etude.
    http://lailasamburu.centerblog.net

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  3. Lailasamburu: thank you for the comments. i really appreciated them. i think the author had a lot to learn. i think the author did strike paydirt with her books. as i mentioned, i am not inclined to read any more of her books. i think it is great that you have learned the language and have been living in this community for so long. i am sure you could tell us much more about the way of life so that we could understand it than the author can. thank you again.

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  4. the above comment by Dee was actually by me, Vicky. I must be a computer nerd because i forgot how to sign myself in. i have passed the book on to a friend and she has not finished it yet, but mentioned to me that she feels as i do about Corinne. a spoiled, obsessed woman. i am looking forward to anything else she thinks about this book. again thank you Lailasamburu for your experience and insights. it is greatly appreciated.

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  5. "living in a hut with piles of cow dung and tons of flies outside my hovel door" is a very little part of the Samburu life!!! So many other aspects of their life and culture are well unknown in the world, even in Kenya itself...and these are the challenges which make the life of a Western woman almost impossible inside of this tribe, hurting her mentality and her education much more than the material difficulties she could face...
    Thanks for your appreciative comments.

    http://lailasamburu.centerblog.net

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  6. I, too, have had to read this book for a reading group and hated it from almost the very first page. Although I found the description of the way of life of the people with whom she was living was very interesting indeed, I did not warm to the woman herself. I thought her immature, irresponsible, and utterly selfish. She was as much obsessed with herself as she was with the Masai warrior. I have not yet finished it but have no doubt that the ending will bring no surprises in its inevitability.

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  7. What an irritating pretentious woman. The epitomy of selfishness. Apart from the fact I read the book on a plane I would have thrown out out of the window. Even sadder is the fact she now receives royalties for her self-centered attitudes.

    I would love to read the ex-boyfriends extract. Too think he may have married her.

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  8. I have not read the book but did purchased the movie because someone recommended it. I find it insulting. I lived in southern Africa for 6 years and i seriously doubt some of the things she says happened. Couldn't agree more with the last comment a VERY irritating pretentious woman she is. Absolutely selfish and ignorant at heart! And to think that she is now enjoying the glory for that stupidity eating a croissant in a swiss cafe is really shoking! In my opinion, she watched the movie Out of Africa and thought she could be the next Karen Blixen...no way she can!!!

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  9. I have read the book and i am a Kenyan and have Samburu and Maasai ancestry. Corinne Hoffman has done injustice to these 2 communities. She acts all superficial and insinuates that they are a backward people. I am also shocked that she talks of calling people black but does not describe her husband and daughter in this condescending way. Her husband is as black as you can get anywhere. Opening the book by saying Kenya stinks, how dare she! To say that in Kenya there is only powder soap, maybe she didn't have enough money to buy body soap.
    Corinne is a racist and if Kenya was so bad don't come again!

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  10. I read the book a few years back and do not recall any of the above insults. Maybe it is the perspective from which one reads or approaches a story, especially a personal account or memoir. The author never used "black" in a condescending tone as far as I interpreted it, but now I must go back and re-read "White Masai" to see why Sanaipei Tande is insulted (see above comments). Also from my recollection the author does refer to her ex-husband's skin colour as black on several occasions, and so what. We all embrace our blackness and African heritage by now and are secure and confident about the skin that wraps around our being enough not to be insulted afterall the author is not insulted to call her-self "white" or to have the Samburu people call her "mzungu" (spelling?). Slavery, colonisation and segregation have all been conquered/slayed and re-education for Africans in the East and West are well underway, if not completed,... I presumed. What happened to black self-love and the Black and Proud Movement?

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  11. yeash! Some harsh comments out there. I see a strong woman who put herself through an experience most of us would not dare. She was happy to work hard for what she wanted. How many of you are unhappy with your life right now and wish you could have her stamina? She loved him even at the end and cared about his well being. Truly a woman of love. Look deeper people.

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  12. true enough she was spoiled and wild in behavior, but should that be put on trial in a memoir? a memoir is someone's account. if any of our autobiographies were put out there there'd be some wild, ignorant, or shameful moments. it's a memoir--- basically facts---- it stands as what it is.

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