Sleeping with Lions: A Year in Tanzania


Author:Lee Anne McIlroy

  • Publisher: Atmosphere Press
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2022
  • Number of Pages: 296
  • ISBN-13: 978-1639883974

Sleeping with Lions: A Year in Tanzania by Lee Anne McIlroy is a nonfiction narrative that will irresistibly appeal to fans of travel books and memoirs. Lee Anne is a linguist and a single mother who once worked in Africa as a young woman. When she gets the second opportunity to return to East Africa, she delightfully seizes it. What follows is an exciting, rollicking ride that transports readers alongside her exceptional adventure to exotic places, lush natural beauty, and rich cultures. She lives on the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, with four priests in Bukoba, where she teaches at a college while collaborating with an African researcher and poet. Her journey is one of the genuine encounters with different cultures as she travels to places like Kilwa, the Serengeti Desert, and Zanzibar.

In Sleeping with Lions: A Year in Tanzania, Lee Anne McIlroy paints a dazzling portrait of East Africa, inviting readers to contemplate the beauty of the natural landscapes, the wildlife, the history and culture of the people, and what it means to be genuinely human. The writing is, in itself, a work of sheer beauty, highly descriptive, and filled with stunning imagery. While the author celebrates the encounters with the characters in this wonderful book, she also shares her reflections about life and motherhood and lessons learned from her unique experiences. For instance, moments like her encounter with the monkey and child and the bird that flies before her are very significant and symbolic. No wonder she writes about the bird: “As I reveled in that bird’s flight, I realized that I would never find what I was looking for by holding anyone or anything else back from moving on.” The setting comes to life in this memoir, and it is inventive; the characters are fully drawn, and the writing is enriched by the author's perceptive gaze and ability to weave powerful insights into the story. A deeply moving story that makes anyone wants to pack their luggage and visit Tanzania, this book is a gorgeous offering for fans of travel memoirs and readers longing to discover Africa. 

Reviewed By: Romuald Dzemo

Reviewed Date: January 18, 2023

Category: Memoir