Reviews are really important. I didn’t quite understand that before. But reviews and star rankings on Amazon, Goodreads, Indie bookseller pages…they matter in how the sites rank and place books. They help get eyes on books and help readers decide whether or not to invest time and money into a story.

So please, if you haven’t already, consider leaving a review at one of these places. And while you are there, leave a review for other books you’ve read. They don’t have to be five-star reviews either. I won’t feel bad if you give it your real, honest opinion. Also doesn’t have to be long. I’m a fan of leaving 1-2 sentence reviews. Just don’t be a jerk.

There used to be a notice on Stronger than Death’s Amazon page that the book had “issues” reported. This is because when it was first published, the wrong book had been loaded into the Kindle content. Meaning, everyone who pre-ordered or purchased the Kindle book for the first few days found a different book inside (a great book, but not the one they wanted).

This issue was fixed. A LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGG time ago. Like the first week. But still, that stupid flag remained and I hated it. I think it has been finally removed, but once in a while it does show up again.

Leaving a good review can help conquer reader doubts about the book after they see that flag.

Here are some, from short to long:

“Could not put this book down. Very interesting true story of what it means to be selfless in a selfish world.” Mac girl

“I think everyone should know what it looks like to really love your neighbor as yourself, which is what Annalena did and in the greatest humility.” Deb Brunsberg

This is a hard, but inspiring read. It both horrifies and uplifts. The author did a fabulous job researching and compiling a well-written book on the life of a woman I had never heard of, but will never forget. This is a woman every bit as heroic as Mother Theresa but who insisted in living a life of quiet service to those most in need, without the recognition and accolades she so deserved. This would be a fabulous book for book clubs or for anyone wanting to know more about the deprivations and hardships in countries such as Somaliland. Kudos to the author for both bringing this story to light and for having the courage to live in such a hostile land herself. I feel like my review really doesn’t do this book justice, but it should be required reading to help our children understand some of the difficulties that region faces, to help adults understand the politics and turmoil of that area, to raise awareness in politicians, and to inspire each of us to live a more selfless life.” WiWise

“Interwoven throughout this biography is historical and cultural facts about the people that call the Horn of Africa home, but it is also a memoir of sorts as Rachel shares how she and her family were affected by Annalena’s murder. On top of all this, there is some journalist reporting, as Rachel shares her own thoughts and questions regarding some of the decisions that Annalena made. I believe that if you are interested in the Horn of Africa, humanitarian aid work, female genital mutilation, or Muslim/Christian relationships than you should read this book.” MD Mauer

“If you want to be challenged, if you want to love more, if you want to read how love changes lives, read this book. Annalena wouldn’t want to be made into a celebrity. She fought that her whole life. And she definitely wouldn’t want to be made into a saint. But she shows us how to live as a human fully — loving with all we have and loving every second of our days and nights.” Jane Hinrichs

“This book is deeply involving, and at times totally stark and grim, but it gives a vivid and authentic picture of a woman who was completely dedicated to the concept of service in love. Annalena perceived her call to serve the poor totally, with utter involvement and boundless determination. Although she was not a doctor, she was a magnificent organizer and meticulous record keeper, and turned out to be uniquely qualified to institute a “DOTS” (Directly Observed Therapy Short-Course) tuberculosis program among Somali nomads. It was, however, her personal charisma that provided the necessary motivation which convinced the patients to commit to and continue with the course of treatment that led to the extraordinary cure rates the program accomplished. The medical success story, though, was continually interrupted by war and acts of atrocity, and was eventually reversed when the scourge of TB was compounded by the HIV/AIDS invasion from other nations following the disruption of the Somali social structure and the increased political tension after the American reaction to the 9/11 attacks and the rise of ever more militant Islam. Although Annalena never proselytized, and indeed at one point had FGM performed on her own adopted Somali daughters in order to not challenge the prevailing beliefs and customs, she remained Christian in outlook and to some extent in observance. This inevitably led to the eventual resentment of her presence and success which caused her death in October of 2003.

Author Rachel Pieh Jones does a magnificent job of maintaining balance and integrity in her narrative. She is honest about the failings both of those who attempt to bring aid to the war-torn areas of the world, as well as the gory and corrupt local conditions which often stymie those efforts. Annalena was, of course, totally unique in her refusal to be limited by the bureaucracy of many self-serving groups, both religious and otherwise. She had a small coterie of backers in Italy whom she knew personally, and was to some extent supported by the WHO, but refused to let her efforts be subsumed and diluted by fund raising endeavors. The way she circumvented much of the bribery and graft that was considered obligatory at the time is a truly fascinating sideline. Though this book is very painful at times, it is also a deeply moving, rewarding and inspirational story.” Trudie Barreras

Buy the book!

Plough: Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa

Indiebound: Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa

Barnes and Noble: Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa

Amazon: Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa