I find non-fiction at times to be more exciting and engrossing than fiction because it’s real, because it really happens and it’s really out there.
Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: the story of an African Childhood by Robyn Scott is a non-fiction book that I found fascinating. I’ve always wanted to know more about the mysterious continent of Africa. It draws me and repulses me at the same time. I’m intrigued by the unique people, ancient history, and incredible wildlife, and repulsed also by the frightening conflicts, devastating disease, and incredible wildlife.
Robyn Scott moved to Bostwana when she was seven with her very unusual family. Her flying doctor father and homeschooling mother were very loving but eccentric. Life was an adventure with their relaxed view of parenting. Most of their elementary education came by way of being read to and investigating on their own. They were free to explore this wild country and learn by doing. The African bush and it’s inhabitants were quite the education, as were the people they encountered at her father’s rural clinics many of which were dying from AIDS.
Robyn is twenty seven now and has completed a BSc in Bioinformatics at the University of Auckland. In 2004, she was awarded a Gates Scholarship to Cambridge University, where she read an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise and studied trends in the pricing of medicines in developing countries. I’m looking forward to her next book which will be about a remarkable group of maximum security prisoners in South Africa who have adopted AIDS orphans.