Review and Giveaway: Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway

51p771be0cl_sl500_aa240_ Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway is the story of the author’s 2 year stint as a young Peace Corp volunteer in the remote African country of Mali. Kris spends that time as an assistant to 24 year old Monique, a remarkable midwife in the town of Nampossela, where women give birth on a concrete slab then go back to their work in the fields a few hours later, where the maternal and infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world (1 in 12 mothers die in childbirth, 1 in 5 babies don’t live to see their 5th birthday). There is no running water, no trained doctors, medical equipment or emergency procedures. Food and water are scarce, flies are a constant problem, and malaria, intestinal parasites and AIDS are all too common ailments.

kris_and_moniqueMonique, armed with a few months training, the ability to read, and a happy, willing spirit, fights to keep women alive. She passionately and desperately tries to care for women and children and better their lives under deplorable conditions. There is much information here about the birthing center and midwifery, however it is Kris’s decade-long friendship with Monique that is the heart and soul of this book. They grow close and discuss their lives and emotions on an intimate level reserved for only the very best of friends. Kris writes openly and plainly about her time in Mali, creating an intimate and unsentimental portrait of the people and this beautiful friendship.

Kris meets John, her future husband and another Peace Corps volunteer, in Mali. Their relationship blossoms under the watchful eye of Monique as together they work to renovate the birthing center, cover wells, dig holes for medical waste, and negotiate with community leaders to improve the local healthcare situation.

Monique and the Mango Rains offers so much for a book club to discuss. Themes in the book include family relationships, poverty, religious differences, the place of women in African society, hunger, malnutrition, power struggles, parenting, birth control, marriage, childbirth, volunteerism, and community. Holloway is respectful of the people and their culture and never has that too-frequent American way of being condescending.

I loved this book! It was so inspiring and such a powerful testament to the human spirit and to women’s friendship. Proceeds from sales of this book will help expand the capabilities of a clinic that has since been built in Monique’s name (Clinique Monique), as well as provide school tuition assistance and healthcare for Monique’s children. So I’m going to dig into my wallet and buy one copy of Monique and the Mango Rains to give away to one lucky reader, and I will also donate $1 for every comment left on this post (up to $50) to the cause. $50 won’t change the world, but it is enough to pay for a set of medical instruments!

Please watch this moving short film about Monique, narrated by Kris Holloway.

You can learn more about Monique and the Mango Rains at the book’s beautiful website. Leave a comment here by Tuesday, February 17th, if you’d like to win a copy!

57 Responses

  1. Looks very interesting.

  2. Sounds like a very inspirational read.

  3. Another dollar for the cause – this does look very interesting.

  4. As a Returned Peace Corps volunteer myself, I look forward to getting my hands on this book. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. This sounds very inspirational. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. This sounds like a great read! This subject is near and dear to my heart and my work — most of my days are spent working with and for people who are addressing health issues around the globe. Thanks for the opportunity to win — the book is on my TBR list regardless!

  7. This has been on my wish list for a while. Please enter me.

  8. I’d love to win a copy. Thanks for holding this giveaway!

  9. I love that you’re contributing a dollar for every comment! That’s wonderful.

  10. Wow this book sounds like a great book to read, and a real eye opener. I”m always looking for new inspirational books to read so this is definatly going on my list. Thank you for entering me. And I think thats very generous of you to offer up a copy of this book and to be donating money to a worthy cause.

  11. This is a fabulous book! I read it last year and loved it! What you are doing is amazing! quite a generous gesture! awesome!

  12. Thanks for bringing the book to our attention!

  13. Sounds like a very inspiring book. One that reminds us of the power just one person has to make a difference . And to remind us just how good we have it in this country. Thanks Lisa for sharing this book and the donation!

  14. I would cry my way through this book. The pages would be soggy when I got through. I always thought I would be a Peace Corps volunteer, but then I didn’t apply. I have a friend who is in that 70% club (meaning she’s married to another volunteer that she met during those 2 years). Lisa, I think it’s awesome that you are making that donation to the clinic. Thank you!

  15. Sounds like a lovely book. Sign me up please.

  16. Wow, just wow. I always seem to forget how easy we have it here. Sure puts any complaining that I have into perspective. I really would like to read more about Monique and Kris’s 2 years in Mali. I’m sure it would be very eye opening. Thanks for giving the book away and for donating money!

  17. Thanks for the giveaway. This book has been on my Wish List for some time now.

  18. Thanks for the giveaway and the donation you are doing. What a great idea for a great cause. Thanks!

  19. Sounds like a great read about important issues. I’d love to read this one!

  20. wow! This sounds like an amazing read! I’m interested. Thanks for the giveaway

  21. Great review! Thanks for letting us know about this book – I am adding it to my TBR pile.

  22. please enter my name..

  23. I don’t need to win this as I already have a copy, but I j just wanted to say that I also loved this book, it was just so good!

  24. I loved this book too! I was so inspired by these strong women.

    No need to enter me in the contest. Thanks!

  25. This sounds like a great book.

    My friend was a peace corps volunteer in the Republic of Georgia, which is a far different place than Mali. These volunteers are courageous to enter countries they know little about and attempt to educate and improve the lives of others.

  26. Oh, me! Me me me!

  27. Sounds great. Enter me in the giveaway!

  28. No need to enter me. I just wanted to let you know that I posted about this at Win a Book, so expect comments. You’re awesome for taking this chance to make a real difference in people’s lives.

  29. No need to enter me.. This was a great book to read, and it’s for an excellent cause. Kudos to you for holding this giveaway!

  30. I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. Please enter me!!!

  31. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this book, and I would love to read it!

  32. I’ve served in West Africa too, a very different but adventurous gig, but I’ve never written about it, although I am a writer. Kudos to Kris. Tears for Monique.

  33. This looks like a great pick for my book club!

  34. Oooooh, I’d love to read this one. Thanks so much for sending me an email about the contests this week as well. I’ve been a bit out of a loop these days.

    And, CONGRATS on 100,000 hits! That’s awesome!

  35. I’d love to win a copy of Monique… and how generous of you to donate to this great cause!

  36. This is a wonderful book and one of my favorite’s of last year!

    No need to enter me.

  37. I have heard such great things about this book. I’d love to be entered!!

  38. I can not wait to read this book.It is sure to be a good one

  39. This sounds like a great cause (and a great book). Definitely count me in the drawing. Thanks for doing such an awesome thing.

  40. sounds wonderful thanks for the giveaway

  41. This book sounds amazing and it’s such a great cause! Thanks for donating!!

  42. I would love to read this.


  43. Sounds like a great book.

  44. That is so generous of you, and so worthy! I hope I win this but if I don’t, I will consider buying it myself, too. 🙂 Thank you so much for offering this giveaway! eyeslikesugar [at] gmail [dot] com

  45. Sounds like a good read.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  46. This sounds like a great book – and I want to help you reach 50 comments! That is so generous! and thanks for the giveaway.


  47. Sounds like a good read

  48. Hi! Kris Holloway here. Thanks so much for donating money to Clinique Monique. In honor of what you’re doing, I offer to the winner a one-hour book club reading/appearance via speaker phone, if said winner is interested. Just have her email me: kris (at)

  49. sounds like a good read-I hope you hit 50

  50. Thank you for all the comments! And I’m the 50th! Yeah! I was hoping this post would get all 50!

    Kris! I’m so excited that you found your way to my blog and this post! That is so generous of you and really hope that the winner is in a book club so that they’re able to take advantage of it! Thank you! I loved your book and the story of Monique.

  51. I would love a chance to win this book.

  52. I’ve read so many great reviews of this book that I’d love to have a chance to win. Thanks!

  53. Great cause and moving story. Please enter me!

  54. Seems like a very inspirational read.

  55. I’ve never seen anyone do a giveaway like this before. I’m impressed. Good on you!

    niteswimming (at) gmail (dot) (com)

  56. Thanks for the giveaway! Count me in!

  57. WOW it sounds like a GREAT book. I would love to win. Thanks,

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