The Road to Zimbabwe is a funny tale of two people trying to fall in love or maybe that is trying to stumble through courtship and enjoying a fascinating journey along the way. John met Nancy, or maybe it is the other way around, in Greece during a summer vacation. John had gone with a friend to visit Europe, but when it came to visiting Greece, his friend left him to go alone. Nancy traveled by herself meeting a couple from Canada, Jack, and Brenda. Jack and Brenda fought with mock voices and finger puppets. Nancy saw John under a tree lounging and with the encouragement of Jack and Brenda invited John to dinner. It was the start of a romance neither saw coming.
John grew up from the age of 11 in an all-boys boarding school in South Africa during apartheid; he was not worldly to wooing woman. Nancy grew up in the United States in the state of Kentucky. At the time they met, she was living in Cleveland Ohio teaching inner city black children, one of only a handful of white teachers. After their chance meeting in Greece, John visited Nancy in the States and the story we read most of, is during Nancy’s visit to South Africa six months later.
This story is as much about the two of them, as it is about differences, cultures, and beautiful scenery. I enjoyed the travels, their vivid scenery descriptions and their explanations of apartheid, and once in Zimbabwe, the color bar, which seems only to be another name for apartheid. Nancy tells of her life teaching the inner city children and one can see the similarities faced by blacks on both continents. You will be entertained by their mishaps; laugh at their friends, Yanni and Leigh, and in the United States, Nancy’s roommate Myles.
I found the book to be well written and entertaining. Written by both of them from their own perspective and voices, gives the story a he said she said feel. Their descriptions of what they saw along the road to Zimbabwe made me feel as if I had been there. It’s enough to know in the end they get married, it is more fun to travel that road and see how their friendship developed. Having met both John and Nancy, I am amazed to see who they had been, and how much and little, they have changed.
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