When I first read S. Sadie Burbank's Non-fiction Novel, "Red Hills Green Vines and Dried Monkey Meat for Dinner," I truly thought to myself: could this be real? I mean after all it is labeled as a “Nonfiction Novel.” So it must be.
The story starts as Ms. Burbank marries a high school sweethearts and quick develops through the years as the two became adults together, and Burbank begins to think for herself and not be led by her, then, husband.
But is that a good thing?
Though Ms. Burbank was thirty-one, she had not truly lived life to the fullest and in 1971 that could lead a person down some interesting roads to travel. It was that time she made a decision that would change her life, as she packed up a few things leaving behind her husband and two children.
Her journey will guide her to Liberia to meet up with her new lover, who worked out there for a scientific research firm. At first, it appeared that her new-founded life would be much enjoyable then the one she left behind in the States.
But, to Burbank's dismay, she realizes that her lover isn't quite who she believed him to be and begin concocting a plan to get back home to the United States. Though, she was well aware at that point, just how dangerous the situation could become if her lover were to catch wind of it.
S. Sadie Burbank's book is a no-holds-barred true story of her life during that time period. She is brutally open and honest about her experiences from her sexual encounters to how she felt mentally during the process of writing this book. One gripping insistence was when she wrote, “I wanted to be angry. I wanted to shout at him that if his last partner didn’t want to do it what made him think I would want to. I wanted to demand to know why he hadn’t he asked first instead of forcing himself on me. I wanted to insist that he tell me why he hadn’t stopped when I’d asked him to.
“I wanted to do all of that but I didn’t. I didn’t have the courage to say the things I’d wanted to. It never occurred to me that I had been raped, not until just now.”
It is insistence like that which makes this book so appealing to men and woman alike. Burbank painstakingly takes the time to not only rehash all those memories, she also takes the time in her writing to create a vivid picture for the reader, as they too can experience the encounter whether it is a visual or emotional Burbank is able to draw you in.
While the overall basis of the story is about a woman and her time spent thousands of miles away in another country, there is also a deeper underlined story of a person who had relied on others for her survival (her parents, and then, her husband afterward) and the journey of a Woman-Child who leaves Liberia as an independent adult.
Burbank's novel is a must read, it takes the reader on a unbelievable ride. So much so, that I now have a printed copy in my personal library.
Red Hills Green Vines and Dried Monkey Meat for Dinner is avalible at Lulu.com. Hardbacks: http://www.lulu.com/product/hardcover/red-hills-green-vines-and-dried-monkey-meat-for-dinner/18769175 Paperbacks: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/red-hills-green-vines-and-dried-monkey-meat-for-dinner/18747009