Notes From My Travels

Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Ecuador

Written by: Angelina Jolie

Published By: Pocket Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

Angelina Jolie Bookcover            Notes From My Travels: Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Ecuador is actually a compilation of journal entries made by Angelina Jolie while traveling as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador.  The journal begins with her mission to Africa in February 2001 and ends with her mission to Ecuador in June 2002.  As Jolie is quick to point out, this is not a literary masterpiece - Jolie is not a writer. These are her thoughts and impressions written many times at the spur of the moment.

            However, that is not to say that Jolie can't write. In fact, her writing style is easily comprehended and the subject of her writing is captivating. There is so much about the world that we don't know.  Through Angelina Jolie's account of her journey, we learn so much about the refugees' struggle to survive. Each entry allows the reader to view the world through the eyes of refugees who have been ripped from their homelands.  In the pages of this chronicle, the reader comes face to face with the horrors of hunger, the atrocities of the rebel forces, the games played by corrupt governments, and the terrible suffering of the refugee.  

            Yet, through all the victimization and the violence, one thing shines through – the determination of these people.  They are determined to survive and to keep their families alive.  These people understand their plight, but still find a way to rise above it and find joy in simple things that most of us would take for granted.  Angelina Jolie’s journal entries make the reader realize how inconsequential some of our own problems can be compared to those of the refugee. Keep a tissue handy!


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