Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Through These Veins by Anne Marie Ruff

Title: Through These Veins
Author: Anne Marie Ruff
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Open Door Press
Publish Date: June 20, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan
  • You're an armchair traveler
What's the Story?:

From Amazon.com: "In the coffee-growing highlands of Ethiopia, an Italian scientist on a plant collecting expedition discovers a local medicine man dispensing an apparent cure for AIDS. As the medicine man’s teenage daughter reveals the plants behind the cure, their lives become irrevocably intertwined. Through These Veins weaves together the dramatically different worlds of traditional healing, U.S. government funded AIDS research, and the pharmaceutical industry in an intensely personal, fast-paced tale of scientific intrigue and love, with both devastating and hopeful effect.

All profits from the sale of this book will be distributed to the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders and the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation in Ethiopia."

My Two Cents:

"Through These Veins" asks the question about whether the medicine we rely on for some of the most harmful diseases in the world are the result of a scientific miracle or a sneaky business decision made by some suit on the basis of charts and a chance for profit. It's a very real question. I think we all want to believe that pharmaceutical companies have their heads in the right places when it comes to what medicines they come out with but those companies are just that, companies. While it would be nice if they were truly altruistic, they still need to make a profit so it's conceivable that if a drug would not turn a tidy profit, they may choose not to manufacture it or wait until the business aspect is better looking before they put it out. This book explores this topic, which was totally fascinating to me. I do wish that the book had touched on this dilemma a little bit more.

This is definitely a good book for those who like a lot of different settings. You get to see Ethiopia and Washington, DC for starters. My fellow armchair travelers will definitely enjoy this aspect. I don't get a chance to read about any African countries all that much so it was nice to read about a place like Ethiopia that was so new and different to me.

I really liked the characters in this book for the most part but Zahara was definitely my favorite. Zahara is the daughter of a medicine man in a remote village in the middle of Ethiopia's coffee highlands. She is incredibly smart and strong. Those characteristics are definitely on display as the book goes on. She goes through a lot throughout the book but she get through all of that showing so much courage.

Bottom line: A good read about miracle medicine.


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