In this debut memoir, a woman’s Christian faith helps her cope with her brutal upbringing in the Zimbabwe wilderness.
Doly narrates her life story, beginning in rural Zimbabwe when her mother died shortly after giving birth to her. The author and her sister briefly lived with her polygamist father and one of his wives (the one with the fewest children of her own). During this time, she was routinely beaten and starved. When her father eventually lost patience with her, he gave her to his ne’er-do-well brother and his wife, a barren woman afraid of the social stigma of being a wife with no children. This couple lived on a remote farmstead, and young Doly was given the job of tending cattle every day, in all kinds of weather. Her new foster parents abused her even more savagely and treated her more like a slave than a child, ignoring her complaints and doing nothing to help her even when she was stung by a scorpion. One day, another of her uncles happened to be passing by and, deploring her conditions, rescued her. At this point, the narrative abruptly jumps forward to the author’s marriage to a reserved young man named Honest, with whom she had many children and a comfortable life, until the Rhodesian Security Forces killed him in 1979. (Unfortunately, the book never adequately explains the internal conflicts of Zimbabwe in the 1970s, aside from how they affected the author’s marriage prospects.) The author soon met and later married Paul, an army officer with whom she had her only daughter. Doly began university studies and had a healthy, growing family, and she relates the usual ups and downs, such as the deaths of older family members and her children’s educations and jobs. The author repeats motivational assertions of faith throughout this memoir (“If God did it for me, He can do it for you!”), which may not appeal to all readers. However, the memoir offers a very human, universal story of resilience. Overall, many readers will find this an intriguing, if not very detailed, story of one woman’s escape from African poverty.
An often engaging tale of survival in the face of adversity.