My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah by Robin Wiszowaty
Published by Greystone Books
Robin Wiszowaty grew up in a middle-class suburban neighborhood and had a wonderful family, great friends, and a pleasant childhood. But all her life, she wanted more. Something different was calling her, and she just couldn’t figure out what it was. In her early twenties, she was given a rare opportunity to travel to Kenya and live in a Maasai community for a period of time. The time she spent living with the Maasai people changed her life entirely – she finally figured out what she had been craving all these years.
I choose to accept My Maasai Life for review for a few reasons. First of all, the Chicago suburb in which Wiszowaty grew up (Schaumburg) is about 10 minutes from the one I grew up in (Arlington Heights). We are about the same age so I could relate to her life growing up in the suburbs in the 80’s and 90’s. I had never heard of the Maasai people and was interested to learn about their ways of life. Plus, how interesting does this story sound? When I heard about this book, I absolutely had to read it.
Let me tell you guys, My Maasai Life was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. Wiszowaty’s story is compelling and fascinating. Reading this book was one of those times when I wished the rest of the world would just pause so I could read the book straight through and not stop for anything else I needed to get done.
I am by no means a world traveler, but even I had the urge to travel to Africa and experience another culture after finishing My Maasai Life. Wiszowaty managed to illuminate the Maasai people and their culture in such a way that made me want to experience this life for myself. Don’t get me wrong – the family she lived with has a physically difficult life, with none of the comforts we take for granted every day. However, the amount of love they have for one another, the pride they have in their homes, families, and community – these things just blew me away. They literally adopted Robin, gave her a new name, and called her daughter/sister from the first day they met her. It was amazing.
I cannot recommend My Maasai Life enough. Wiszowaty’s story is compelling and readable, and she illuminates the Maasai people (a culture I’d never heard of before) in such a way that made me want to travel there and meet them myself. I just loved this book – and I think you will, too!