Nisa: The life and Words of A !Kung Woman: Review

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After hearing that Jared Diamond recommended this book, I knew that I really wanted to read it. Once I finally got my hands on a copy, I was pleased with this book.

This book is incredibly interesting. I had never heard of the !Kung peoples before reading this book, so everything in this book was new information to me. The life that Nisa lived was incredibly fascinating, I found myself marveling at the people and what was normal for their culture throughout the book. Some of the things that Nisa, and other !Kung peoples, took as normal I found incredible. The parts about the threats of beating and sexual play were especially incredible for me to read about, as those things don’t occur with such regularity in American culture as they do in !Kung culture.

I was really fond of the writing style in this book. Each chapter is about a different topic, at the beginning of the chapter the author writes a section explaining in a factual way what that chapter is about. The next part of the chapter is written in Nisa’s own words as she describes her experiences with that certain topic. I thought that was a really pleasant way to write this story because it allowed the reader to understand the customs before being thrown into Nisa’s experiences with those customs. I also thought that the writing itself was pleasant. The sections that are of Nisa telling her stories seem to be exactly word for word and it’s easy to imagine the voice of Nisa as she tells the author her story. The parts that were written by the author, in her own words, I found to be incredibly well written. Those sections are easy to understand and pleasant to read, definitely good nonfiction writing.

Overall, I found myself sucked into this book. The story and information are interesting and the writing is pleasant to read. I’m very glad that I finally sat down and read this book, it was definitely worth the short time that it took to read.


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