Review: First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life, by Eve Brown-Waite

Whew. That's a title and a half, isn't it?

Thankfully, the book isn't near as long-winded as the title. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria is the lighthearted account of the author's overseas mis-adventures.

Eve, like many young women of her generation, loved the idea of overseas adventure with the Peace Corps. The reality, however, was far different from the recruitment posters.

After falling head over heels in love with her Peace Corps recruiter, Eve decides to nab her man by bravely leaving modern American conveniences (like running water) behind and heading off to Ecuador to save the world.

As much humor as Eve injects into her story, it is an illuminating glimpse into the chaos and isolation of the Peace Corps volunteers. Eve, in fact, does not make it through to the end of her two year volunteer contract. She medicals out at the end of a year after a fellow volunteer is raped in Ecuador and returned to the U.S. unable to complete her stint.

Eventually, she marries her Peace Corps recruiter, but her sense of failure won't go away. So when her new husband gets a job in Uganda, Eve puts on a brave face and heads for the wilds of Africa to prove that she can succeed in a third-world country. And succeed she does, but not in the ways she expected.

Her humorous stories of assimilation keep a smile on the reader's face and are a reminder to BE GRATEFUL FOR LIVING IN A DEVELOPED COUNTRY.

All in all, a charming book.

Now someone get me a double-mocha-no-fat-latte. With sprinkles.

So who amongst you is harboring an inner adventure? Tell A Reader's Respite about your wildest travel adventure and you'll be entered to win your own copy of First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria. A random winner (international peeps, too!) will be chosen on June 12th, so be sure to check back and see if you won!

Title: First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria
Author: Eve Brown-Waite
ISBN-13: 978-0767929356
320 pages
Publisher: Broadway
Date: April 14, 2009

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  1. I'd love to read this, my sister was a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran in the early 70's (she too never finished her 2 yr. stint) and my niece does this sort of thing too, but not with the Peace Corps, it's some other organization, but she's been all over! She's in India now, she was in Zambia before and all over S. America - she gets around!

  2. Well, gee, I wish I had a wild travel adventure. I've never traveled to an undeveloped country. Some of the toilets in France were quite an adventure to use, though. milou2ster(at)

  3. I'll take a 1/2 caf, no fat, cinnamon dolce latte. No whip.

    This is in the to be reviewed pile...except I think you just said what I was going to write.

  4. Decaf soy mocha, no whip, for me please. And add me to this giveaway, too, I love to read about other people's travel (mis)adventures!

    Just listened to "Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven"...similar girl in undeveloped country story, I liked it.

    My wildest travel adventure? Do you count being stuck on the ramp on a full 727 in Toronto during a white-out blizzard for nine hours with no gates available and no food? Those whiny Jetblue people from a couple of years ago have NO IDEA what torture is! Passengers having panic attacks, planning mutiny, smoking! A nightmare. Aren't you glad for that flimsy little door? (It was the winter of 1989 and you can see, I'm still not over it).

  5. Great review! I'm glad you liked it. I have that one coming up myself. I don't know about coffee, but I would be really, really grouchy if there wasn't an ice cold Diet Coke around.

  6. This sounds FANTASTIC! Please enter me .... if I don't win, I think I have to buy this one! I thought about joining the Peace Corps in college but realized early on I wasn't good Peace Corp material.

    And as for wild travel adventures, I did a blog post about my recent trip to South Dakota that involved an accident with my parent's camper that had everyone interested in the aftermath photos. Link here if you are interested:

  7. Well I would have to say the wildest travel adventure is one that must be doled out in euphemisms. But there we were having been invited to someone's house in Leningrad, and it was that time of the month for me, and I, foolishly thinking that Soviet bathrooms would work like American ones, tried to get rid of a time-of-the-month appliance down the Soviet receptacle. Alas, we almost precipitated an international incident. At the very least, we had to get everyone in the house into the bathroom to work out this very thorny problem and return all to functionality. Except for me. I was extremely dysfunctional after that.

    So I'm up for someone else's adventures and would love to read this book. Please enter me!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  8. This sounds like a really intriguing story - part memoir, part travelogue, part psychology case study...

    It takes me right back to the months I spent in Kenya one year, teaching English and History at a tiny village school as a volunteer. I came across an idealistic Peace Corps member or two, and one of the women travelling with me (teaching in another part of the country) was also, alas, raped. I also came back a permanently changed person, with profound thankfulness for things like indoor plumbing, safe public transportation, more-or-less non-hazardous food available for purchase outside the home, and with an even stronger urge to continue visiting and learning about all other corners of the planet.

  9. I so want this book. I haven't had that many adventures, thats why I like to experience them thru' books.

    But yes, there is one, kind of. When I went to Bangalore with family for a holiday, my dad fell ill with gastro. My mom took him to a near by hospital and when she came back she was alone and said that my dad had been admitted to the hospital. My mom gets scared really easily, so I offered to go with her. The hospital was in a very shady area and we really knew nothing about that place, besides it was night. I went alone, ducking in corners to get the medicines the doctor had prescribed from a 24/7 medical store. I was soooo scared, but when I look back now it wasn't anything to be scared about. It's just the fear of being in a strange place with not knowing anyone around, seeing your dad lying in a hospital with mom in a panic mode :)

    I'm not sure I can even call it an adventure :)

  10. This book looks like it could be fun. I'm not much of an "adventurous" traveler, I have to admit. Probably the most adventurous thing I did was travel to Paris by myself for three days. *shrug* Traveling alone isn't much fun, though.

  11. My wildest travel adventure that I can think of was a mission trip to Watts, CA. We were there to paint some pastors' houses, and we were staying at a Christian school in Watts. We ate all of our meals at a house a few blocks away from the school. One night we were in the middle of dinner when one of the neighbors came running into the house and told us to get on the floor because someone was shooting a gun. I remember sitting on the floor trying to figure out if I was more terrified of a bullet possibly coming through the window, or the cockroaches that were skittering across the floor. Thankfully everything settled down quickly and no bullets entered the house.

    As far as wildlife adventures though ... more of those happened for me in the countryside around my house growing up. I lived at the end of the county road, and we would hike up into the hills often. We saw many animals: black bears, elk, deer, porcupines, beavers. I even saw a cougar once and no one believed me until we found tracks in the mud the next day. But those weren't travel adventures. :)

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  12. I have a copy of this one and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I don't have any third-world country adventure stories so I have to live vicariously through others. =)

  13. This one made its rounds a few months back and it sounded like a fun read. Please enter me, I cannot resist! rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com

  14. ooo! I would love to go on a wild trip too :)!
    This book sounds adventourous and funny and would love to read it too :)

    Lovely review.. thanks!

  15. I wish I was that brave to travel around the world like that. But I'm more of the lazy vacationer type.

    Please count me in.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  16. My wildest adventure? umm probably when I was 13 and babysat for a family of 3 boys and we went on a 3 days camping trip with the mom and boys on Drummong Island, MI (kind of near Mackinac) with two other Aunts and a bunch of the cousins. At one point, all three aunts locked themselves in one of the trailers (with all the fudge!!!) and didn't come out for HOURS. I was stuck outside,with no shower, no running water, and 11 whiny kids. Ugh. never again.

    Pass me a soy hazelnut latte por favor! And enter me to win this book :) the wait on PBS is KILLING me.

  17. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I have a hard time reading about other PCVs' experiences because they're so different from my cherished memories. But I have heard good things about this book, so I am curious about what the buzz is all about and whether I can make it through this one!

    I had my share of misadventures in the Peace Corps ... not the least of which was the day my host family served their favorite meal -- goat intestines -- and I didn't yet have the language skills to ask whether it was raw or cooked (I couldn't tell -- I'd never before seen goat intestines). When I finally struggled to communicate the gist of my question, they brought me into the kitchen to show the enormous pot of water where the intestines boiled alongside the goat's head and hooves. Until a week before, I had been a vegetarian but vowed to "live like the locals" while in Peace Corps, including eating meat. Alas, I just couldn't do it after seeing that, so they fried some eggs for me for dinner.

  18. This book sounds enjoyable.

    I don't actually have any international adventure. I went to Toronto, Canada once with some friends, but nothing outstanding happened.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

  19. Sprinkles? What kind of sprinkles?

    I'd love to write funny travel adventure books, even though my travel adventures have been pretty prosaic. I'd have to add a few embellishments here and there, for sure.

    May I be entered too?

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. I don't have many travel experiences but I do remember the summer while i was on a tropical island somewhere in Malaysia, I got lost and bumped into a couple of wild peacocks. It was really exotic. This reminds me of the movie Cast Away. That one is truly the wildest adventure. : )

    Count me in, please.
    linna.hsu (at) gmail (dot) com

  22. No wild travel story here, but just had to say, I love the title!

  23. This sound like a great read - I love memoirs!

    Okay travel adventure - you're going to laugh. It's probably pretty mundane. My daughter received an athletic scholarship to a US university. We decided to drive her down and get her settled. We got lost - many times. Once in a very bad area of Chicago. Although we did discover a unique fast food restuarant called Popeyes. We come from a town of 300 people. And it is all captured gloriously on VHS by my son and replayed often at family gatherings.

  24. I don't have a travel story but I would love to win this book.

  25. This looks good. Thanks for the review.

    I was an international relations major and after my BA, I considered the Peace Corps. One classmate put it best when he said, "Rebeca, it isn't tennis in the morning and cocktails in the afternoon." I guess he had me pegged. However, I have travelled to the Mid-East and to Eat Africa, which were quite adventurous.

    As for the toilets in France? Please, they're cleaner than in the US (and those can be an adventure.)

  26. Some of my most memorable -- and humbling -- vacation moments came in Alaska. Outside Anchorage, we were walking in a park and happened upon a bear's paw print that was about twice the size of my hand. I don't think our feet touched the ground as we scrambled back to the car.
    Later, in Denali National Park, my son and I hiked away from the campground and were sitting alongside a stream when a huge caribou -- with antlers taller than a basketball hoop -- sauntered right past us.
    I don't know that I've ever felt more out of place.
    (p.s. Though the book sounds great, if my number is chosen, please pass it on to someone else.)

  27. Just recently while camping my 2 yr old turned over a rock and we found an earth worm...when I leaned down to pick it up we found out it was actually a baby snake...AHHH! I doubt mommy snakes stay near their new babies, but just in case we quickly replaced the rock and continued our hike:) Thanks for the chance to read this:)

  28. Yeah, just about every time I read something like this I have to go make a big meal or take a shower of something :). Coffee works too! No, need to enter me!

  29. Sounds good, count me in!

  30. We were on a family road trip camping safari deep down into Baja. I went windsurfing and almost did not come back.

    I wrote this before blogging had been "invented."

  31. I would love to win this book.

    My latest adventure took place in northern ontario. I went boating with a friend of mine only to be caught in the middle of nowhere in VERY thick fog (we're talking pea soup!) We ended up having to call the coast guard to come find us and bring us home (all of whom were very good looking men!)




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