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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Jim Bruce!, 26 July 2009
This review is from: FAITHFUL SERVANT: A Memoir of Brian Cleeve (Paperback)
This review is actually a "thank you" to Jim Bruce for writing an incredible biography of Brian Cleeve. In doing so, Mr. Bruce has made me feel less guilty for something I failed to do over 35 years ago. In 1974, one of my "South African" short stories, "The Classification," was published in WOMAN'S CHOICE, an Irish magazine. The story dealt with the "reclassification" of a young Port Elizabeth (South Africa) girl from "Coloured" to "Bantu." It meant she could no longer live with her family. The story was based on an article I had read in a Port Elizabeth newspaper while I was there finishing my doctorate in African Linguistics at the University of Port Elizabeth. At the bottom of the story was a "comment" by Brian Cleeve. Mr. Cleeve did a masterful job of summarizing South Africa's system of apartheid, the separation of the races. I remember thinking at the time (in my American naivté), "Who is Brian Cleeve?" Well, how I came to "Google" Mr. Cleeve after all this time is a rather convoluted story, but I did, and was astonished to discover the story of this wonderful human being. Our life-stories seemed to parallel each other in many, many ways, although he was Irish, and I'm American. I was also actually embarrassed by this discovery and wished I had at least had the decency to write him a note in 1974, thanking him for his very insightful comments not only about my story but about the social situation in South Africa at the time. Jim Bruce's FAITHFUL SERVANT, A Memoir of Brian Cleeve, is an outstanding example of what a memoir should be. It has also allowed me to get to know (as well as anyone could, I guess) someone I wish I had gotten to know over 35 years ago. Through all of this, too, I have gotten to know Jim Bruce, by emails. He is a great writer and an outstanding human being. I look forward to reading many more of his upcoming books. In fact, if it weren't so far between Oklahoma and Ireland, I can also see us having coffee or tea and discussing the many-faceted life of Brian Cleeve.
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