Unreal: Adventures of a Family’s Global Life

Phil McDonald. North Loop, $17.99 trade paper (426p) ISBN 978-1-5456-5721-8
In this straightforward debut memoir, McDonald recounts his more than 30 years spent developing overseas nonprofit projects. It all began with a chance invitation by his college basketball coach to spend the summer working in the Central African Republic in 1972, which set him on a path toward his current position as president of Leader Empowerment and Development, a U.S. nonprofit encouraging social entrepreneurship in developing countries. But this is no dry business or organizational story: McDonald describes “redirecting his life goals” from a planned career in law to following his passionate interest in overseas development. As he travels with his wife and their children, McDonald details the many moves he made and projects he took on working for nongovernmental organizations, such as Women at Risk International. He evenhandedly describes what it is like to raise a family overseas, dealing with living in segregated Muslim villages in Bangladesh and working as a teacher in a chaotic Philippines, where a colleague greeted him by saying “Welcome to Manila. We average six bank robberies a day.” McDonald is an amiable, encouraging narrator as he sprinkles throughout lessons for working and living abroad (among them, “Be fascinated: Attending special events gives insight into what is important in a culture”). Readers looking to work overseas will find lots of useful tips in McDonald’s earnest memoir. (Self-published.)
Reviewed on : 11/20/2019
Release date: 06/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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