There Is No Me Without You


One Woman’s Odyssey To Rescue Her Country’s Children

“A fundamental truth — heartwarming and heartbreaking — underlies this passionate narrative: Every child needs a loving parent, and every mother needs a child.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, A Best Book of the Year

There is No Me Without Youis the story of a middle-class Ethiopian widow, Mrs. Haregewoin Teferra [1946-2009] who, out of the multiple tragedies in her own life, opened her door to AIDS-orphaned children and was then inundated by them, nearly beyond her capacity to care for them all. Her path takes her from public adoration to denunciation and prison; but, then, it has been said that “even Mother Teresa was no Mother Teresa.” Along the way, she saved the lives of hundreds of children, many of whom began new lives with adoptive families in Ethiopia and abroad.


Winner of Elle Magazine’s Elle’s Lettres Readers Prize
Finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
American Library Association Notable Book
Booksense Notable Book
Winner, with Mrs. Haregewoin Teferra, of the Fervent Global Love of Lives Award, Taiwan
People Magazine Critic’s Choice


Publishers Weekly
Christian Science Monitor
Entertainment Weekly
Chicago Tribune
The Atlanta Constitution
The Anchorage Press
The Oregonian

Mrs. Haregewoin appears (at 1:20) in film-maker Dorothy Fadiman’s 2006 documentary, Whose Children Are They Now?


Greene’s nuanced portrait places Haregewoin Teferra at the center of a global crisis, but never loses its focus on innocent victims. The U.N. estimates that by 2010, Africa could have 50 million children orphaned because their parents dide of a disease that can be treated by drugs readily available in different nations….Greene quotes a doctor whose colleagues compare AIDS in Africa to the Holocaust. “We will be asked by future generations, ‘What did you do to help?'” Teferra will have no trouble answering: More than my share.
People Magazine
**** Critics Choice

A fundamental truth — heartwarming and heartbreaking — underlies this passionate narrative: Every child needs a loving parent, and every mother needs a child.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
A Best Book of the Year

National Book award nominee Melissa Fay Greene wonderfully chronicles the true story of an Ethiopian woman who took in AIDS orphans…The life of one extraordinary caregiver in Ethiopia is used to paint a devastating portrait of the AIDS epidemic in Africa that has left some 13 million children orphaned.
The Christian Science Monitor
A 2006 Book of the Year

Melissa Fay Greene dramatizes the epic-scale tragedy of AIDS in Africa through her flawed heroine’s human-scale experience in There Is No Me Without You. It’s a powerful story — by turns sad, politically infuriating, and inspiring — and Greene brings her formidable intelligence and eloquence to the telling.
Entertainment Weekly,
A Best Book of the Year

As with her previous books (Praying for Sheetrock; The Temple Bombing; Last Man Out), Greene takes a very close look at what appears to be the fringe of an important social event and illuminates the entire subject. Ethiopia is home to “the second-highest concentration of AIDS orphans in the world”; even as some of the orphans find happy endings in American homes, Greene keeps the urgency of the greater crisis before us in this moving, impassioned narrative.
Publishers Weekly,
A 2006 Best Book of the Year

Greene excels at the toughest of writing challenges: interweaving one woman’s life story with the big picture of a nation’s past and present struggles. We aren’t overwhelmed by the wealth of information; rather, the personal account of Haregewoin Teferra is enhanced by the additional details. At the same time, her story gives us tangible proof that one person can make a difference in the lives of many.
Elle Magazine,
Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

Unforgettable…Greene brings Africa’s AIDS catastrophe to us as bracingly as the movie Hotel Rwanda brought home the horrors of genocide.
More Magazine

Greene details one woman’s struggles to maintain a refuge while “the most terrible epidemic in human history was knocking…then it was banging with fists” at her door. She explores the history and politics of AIDS but stays focused on Teferra, creating a piece of journalism that’s heartbreaking but never maudlin.
Outside Magazine

”Readers who liked Mountains Beyond Mountains will find Greene is a stronger storyteller than Tracy Kidder. Both struggle with the mystery of goodness, but Greene’s protagonist is not a saintly American doctor. Haregewoin Teferra is a flawed, feisty, unforgettable character of the (un)developing world……The book concludes with a unique adoption, told in an unexpected sequence of remarkable beauty and power. It left me gasping.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

This searing account humanizes the statistics through heartbreaking, intimate stories of what it is like for young orphans left alone in Ethiopia.

A poignant account of an Ethiopian woman’s attempt to help the smallest victims of AIDS in the disease-ravaged country.
The Chicago Tribune,
A Best Book of 2006

…a harrowing, beautiful book.
The Columbus Dispatch