Wine to Water: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World by Doc Hendley
Published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin
Review copy provided by the publisher in conjunction with TLC Book Tours
In 2004, Doc Hendley was a small-town bartender who decided to do something about the fact that millions of people around the world live without access to clean water. He began hosting wine-tasting events to raise money for clean-water organizations and to raise awareness about the issue. As Doc was researching different organizations who might benefit from the funds he had raised, he was given the opportunity to travel with one of them to one of the most dangerous places in the world: Darfur, Sudan. And after spending time in Darfur and actually working on the water projects firsthand, Doc became a changed man.
Wine to Water is a book by a truly great person who began an excellent and, what turned out to be highly successful, aid organization that has done tremendous things in the world. Doc Hendley never set out to be a success, or to be famous, or even to travel the world – he set out with the simple belief that every human being on this planet deserves access to clean water. While Doc Hendley had no idea how going to Darfur would change his life and catapult his organization, Wine to Water, to a place of success, he set out to make good changes in the lives of those without access to water. And he definitely did that, and luckily for us readers, he wrote this book to tell that tale.
I liked this book a lot, and I have to say that I think the main reason for that is that Doc is such a real, honest, normal guy and I couldn’t help but be drawn to him. He is sort of rough around the edges, he’s very straightforward and as a reader you truly feel that you get to know him over the course of the book. To be honest, he’s not the best writer in the world, so don’t expect beautiful prose in Wine to Water, but although I noticed the quality of the writing wasn’t amazing I didn’t care one bit. He tells his story in a very matter-of-fact way, and you don’t need flowery prose or beautiful sentences to be able to appreciate how inspiring and, frankly, awesome, this story really is.
And inspiring it is! The things that Doc Hendley experiences while in Darfur blew my mind. I cannot imagine living in a place where there is currently a government-sponsored genocide going on. He risked his life on many occasions and it was all with the goal to bring clean water to those who need it. He even went into the most dangerous parts of Darfur, by choice, because he knew that nobody else would go to those places. He was incredibly brave and selfless and his story is incredibly inspiring.
I can absolutely recommend Wine to Water and I think everyone should read it. The water crisis is a very real thing, and Doc Hendley brings the crisis to the forefront of the readers’ mind flawlessly. The way Doc took the simple idea, really a no-brainier concept of everyone deserves clean water, and created an entire aid organization around it will inspire anyone who picks up this book.