The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars: My Peace Corps Service

Category: Biographies and Memoirs

Author: Gary R Lindberg


  • Publisher: BookBaby
  • Publication Date: January 12, 2022
  • Page Count: 204
  • ISBN-10: 978-1-667781-273-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-66781-272-4

At times entertaining and adventurous, The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars: My Peace Corps Service is a stirring memoir of Gary Lindberg’s Peace Corps experience, a book that documents his life in Ivory Coast in the 1960s and his travels in East and West Africa. It takes readers from the moments the author undergoes rigorous training that includes five hours of French language through his deployment, to his life amidst the Africans and adventures through different lands. Not long after his training, the author, together with others, is on the way “to a new land, new culture, new customs, and a new way of thinking.” This opens an adventure in Ivory Coast that brings the author into contact with a new culture, new friends, exciting moments, and challenges. The author shares his day-to-day life with a lightness of spirit and a voice that is compelling, presenting exciting moments like learning to plant vegetables and his experience with the school garden.  His adventures in East and West Africa and his contact with new cultures are revealing of what it was like to be a Peace Corps volunteer in the early years of the program.

This is a beautiful book and a tale that offers a captivating portrait of Africa in the 1960s. The descriptions of places like Déahouépleu —the village where the author worked— are atmospheric and detailed. Friendships are not just enlivening but expertly written to capture the pulse and life of the community. The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars: My Peace Corps Service is written in beautiful prose and the author’s gift for storytelling melds with the excitement of adventure to deliver an enjoyable reading experience. The author’s travels are brimming with discovery and moments that are both entertaining and revealing of the author’s exploration of cultural dialogue. From the author’s sense of setting to the excellent writing and his ability to share personal stories, this memoir transports readers to the Africa of the 1960s. It is a captivating odyssey that is littered with strong imagery and life flowing through each page, a well-crafted tale that depicts a journey of self-exploration, discovery, and adventure. 

Reviewed by Daniel Rhodes Review Date: April 6, 2022

Category: Biographies and Memoirs


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