Review: História, História by Eleanor Stanford

Posted March 11, 2013 by Heather in Book Reviews / 7 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: História, História by Eleanor StanfordHistória, História by Eleanor Stanford
Published by CCLaP Publishing on March 11, 2013
Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel
Format: eBook
Pages: 83
Source: the publisher

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In 1998-2000, Eleanor Stanford and her husband, Dan, spent two years in the Cape Verde islands as volunteers for the Peace Corps. While Dan seemed to assimilate pretty quickly, Eleanor had a harder time with the language and with relaxing enough to fully immerse herself in the Cape Verde culture. She couldn’t get used to the gender roles or the accepted relationships between men and women, and she was often very discontented and lonely. Eventually, a number of factors led to Eleanor being affected by an eating disorder.

História, História is a short memoir of Eleanor’s time in Cape Verde and how it affected her and her marriage. At only 83 pages, it feels more like a long essay than a book, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to read. Eleanor is good at writing succinctly about the history of Cape Verde and her experiences there as a Peace Corps volunteer. She describes her difficulties with the language(s), the parts of Cape Verde culture and social norm that she couldn’t get used to, her eating disorder, and how all of those things seemed to negatively affect her relationship with her husband. História, História also includes a brief history lesson of the Cape Verde islands which I found interesting (I knew nothing about the history of the islands before reading this book).

My only complaint about História, História is its length (or lack thereof). Even though she does a great job of writing about Cape Verde in a concise way, there are many parts of Eleanor’s story dealing with Cape Verde culture and society that I wish she had expanded on. I can’t say that it would have made a better book, necessarily, but lots of things about the people and culture of Cape Verde (and how an American woman fit or did not fit within that culture) piqued my curiosity and made me want to read more.

Eleanor is a good writer, though, and this is definitely an interesting book. It’s quick and easy to read, and it gives a good overall view of the history and culture of the Cape Verde islands and what it’s like to live there as a long-term visitor. I’d recommend História, História to anyone who enjoys traveling and/or learning about different cultures. If you’re interested in reading História, História, the Kindle edition can be purchased at AmazonOR you can visit the publisher’s website to download the ebook for free (with the option to make a voluntary donation to the author/publisher) or to purchase a paper copy.

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  • therelentlessreader

    I’m with you, I wanted to read more. I liked the length though, short and sweet 🙂

  • That’s it! I’m reading it.

  • I’m with Allison. I’m going to read this too!

  • I may have to check this one out. You read such a diverse selection of books. I always know I will read about something interesting on your blog. 🙂

  • Did you ever read The Sex Lives of Cannibals? That provides a similar type of topic (moving to a remote area) but with much more to the story and the island. I enjoyed Historia Historia a lot, but if you’re looking for more, then The Sex Lives of Cannibals might be right up your alley!

    • I’ll look into it, thanks!

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