When a reporter for The New York Times uproots her family to move to West Africa, she manages her new role as breadwinner while finding women cleverly navigating extraordinary circumstances in a forgotten place for much of the Western world.
... abounds with stories like that of Rahila, the suicide bombing school dropout. Quietly listening, Searcey takes down the details of their everyday experience — including details the authorities around her might prefer were not made public. In doing so, she reveals herself to be, even today, one of the “disobedient women,” bearing witness to so many ordinary lives tossed and turned by other people’s whims.
In Pursuit of Disobedient Women is Searcey’s captivating, straight-ahead memoir of their three years in Dakar, Senegal. There is plenty here about family ... But while her family life is part of the narrative, what Searcey really wants to talk about are the stories of the people who live there. And my gosh, they are fascinating ... Searcey’s writing is plain and unvarnished; she pretties nothing up. A journalist’s journalist, she lets the details and characters provide the drama and plays down her own role, giving enormous credit to the local journalists and translators who work with her ... Frankly, all of the stories she tells seem astounding to me. Searcey gravitates toward stories about women, and the women she interviewed have endured almost unfathomable trauma and yet tell their stories bravely ... What is astounding is the poise and fortitude that these women exhibit in telling their stories to a Western journalist. Also astounding is how many of these tales Searcey was able to absorb over three years.
Searcey is a powerful writer who is aware of her privilege and honest about her mistakes. Her personal story relates the sacrifices she made as a journalist while also trying to keep the family unit together ... Recommended for readers who enjoyed the memoirs of journalists and writers Marie Colvin, Clarissa Ward, Martha Gellhorn, and Anne Garrels, and anyone wishing to learn more about social and political life in West Africa.