BIOGRAPHY

In Pursuit of Disobedient Women: A Memoir of Love, Rebellion, and Family, Far Away

Ballantine. Mar. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780399179853. $27. BIOG
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Searcey, former New York Times West Africa bureau chief, intersperses reflections on her own family life with stories about women in West Africa. In 2015, she and her family relocated to Dakar, Senegal. For the first time, the author became her family’s breadwinner while her husband shifted into the role of primary caretaker for their three young children. Searcey shares her struggles with achieving a healthy work-life balance and offers insight into other “disobedient” women whom she met: Rahila was kidnapped and trained as a suicide bomber; Aisha felt more free under the yoke of Boko Haram than in her own village; Zalika, who takes advantage of the new divorce laws to defy her marriage; and Balaraba, who was forced to don a suicide vest but was able to escape her fate. Searcey is a powerful writer who is aware of her privilege and honest about her mistakes. Her personal story relates the sacrifices she made as a journalist while also trying to keep the family unit together.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoyed the memoirs of journalists and writers Marie Colvin, Clarissa Ward, Martha Gellhorn, and Anne Garrels, and anyone wishing to learn more about social and political life in West Africa.

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