The White Masai

Last night I had a meeting with my book club (also known as the eating club) gals to discuss our latest book, the White Masai by Corinne Hofmann.


It is a biography, and the story is interesting and very weird. Corinne is on vacation with her boyfriend in Kenya, and while on the ferry she sees a beautiful masai who she basically has a love at first sight moment with. The rest of her vacation he is all she can think about, and she stalks the one bar where she thinks he might show up and drags her poor boyfriend along with her every night. He does show up, they have a few conversations (somehow, but neither of them speak English so I am not really sure how that happens…) and she decides she is going to leave her boyfriend, leave her life in Switzerland, and move into this masai’s hut with his mother in his village in the middle of nowhere, and then marry him and have his baby.

Well, I’m summarizing pretty heavily, but that is the gist.

Let me just say that I am all for doing crazy things for love. But man, to an extent! This was pretty extreme… She didn’t know anything about him, and they could barely communicate. Plus, it didn’t come across like he was all that into her. She basically just said “This is what I’m doing,” and he was all “Well if you really want to…” And then she was all “Do you want to get married?” and he was like “We don’t really know each other that well?” which I thought was a valid point.

Also, she returned to Switzerland a couple of times to sort out some things, like selling her business and her apartment, and when she returned she would have to go on a crazy long mission to find the masai, because he kept disappearing. And when she finally did find him, he didn’t seem very excited to see her. He didn’t seem to really care what she did at all, actually. Unless it involved other guys. THEN he cared (because he got all J to the EALOUS).

Also, their cultures are just so different. The men do not eat in the presence of women, pretty much under any circumstance, so there goes going out for dinner. Masai’s apparently do not kiss either. Sexytime lasts for 30 seconds and there is zero intimacy. She lived with him and his mother in a tiny hut made out of mud, slept on the ground, and before she found a way to get fresh food there, all they ate was goat meat. She got all malnourished and crazy sick. He was extremely jealous of everything and was irrationally convinced she had another boyfriend. It just did not sound like a good time at all. Not at all.

I appreciated that she tried to make it work, and Corinne herself was very likeable. I liked her. I just found the whole situation to be very bizarre and unrelatable. I cannot see myself ever doing that. There are some situations where a relationship is just not going to work, no matter how much you like each other, and this seemed doomed from the start. People are different. Sometimes the differences are too big to ever be able to mesh.

I’m sure her masai was extremely attractive. But, you know, looks aren’t everything. There are a few things that would have been huge deal-breakers for me. Personality is extremely important to me, so not being able to properly talk to my lover would be no good. Food is also extremely important to me, so not being able to eat with my lover would not work for me either. Also, only eating goat meat? I don’t know how long I could do that. And the no kissing. That is weird. And what about spooning? That is very important too. And sleeping on the ground, in the dirt. I’ll do it if I have to while camping or something, but a lifetime of sleeping on the ground? Noo thank you.

Oh, and walking in on your mother-in-law breastfeeding your child like it was no big deal (but like a pacifier, since she had no milk). That is weird and disturbing.

I also found the book to mainly be a running commentary of everything that happened, so not really told like a story. But overall I liked it. It was interesting, and definitely a pretty crazy story (which I can appreciate). I just thought it was weird and I couldn’t believe she did that.

Unlike our last book, we actually had a lot to talk about with this one, since so many bizarre things happened.

And we still drank wine, and ate vegetable lasagne and Caesar salad.

And apple crumble pie!

So it was once again a good night of book club eating.

But we haven’t chosen our next book yet. Anyone have any suggestions?


10 responses to “The White Masai

  1. Wow, I don’t think I’ll be reading that book. I need a believable premiss (unless it’s fantasty/scifi)!

  2. PS I did get that it was a bio. Still…

  3. What a horrible book :S Sorry…but I’m scarred for life…ug I wanna slap that woman. What was she thinking?! Plus it doesn’t exactly sound like she was that happy anyway??

    Now I wanna cry. 😥

    p.s. ..or…settle for some apple crumble !! 😀

  4. OK now I kind of do want to read this book, just so I can experience the crazy first hand…

  5. I heard the owl call my name by Margaret Craven

  6. This book is incredible!! 🙂 Having lived in Africa, it is really easy for me to relate (although I’ve yet to take off randomly with a masai-village dude and have his baby 😉 but there is still time!).

    If you ever want to read things that are kind similarly written, Edwidge Danticat writes good stuff (especially Krik?Krak?) about Haiti. She grew up there, so it mostly her own experiences. Dark, mysterious but very interesting 🙂

  7. Pingback: What I’ve Been Reading Lately | Happy or Hungry

  8. Pingback: The Non Book Club Book Club (aka the drinking wine and eating club) | Happy or Hungry

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