G653 Tiger Heart; My unexpected adventures to make a difference in Darjeeing, and what I learned about fate, fortitude, and finding family...half a world away
Author: Katrell Christie and Shannon McCaffrey
Publishing Date: 2015
Katrell Christie was a thirty-something artist turned roller-derby rebel who opened a tea shop in Atlanta. Barely two years later, her life would make a drastic change--and so would the lives of a group of girls half a world away.
I chose the name of my tea shop—Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party—because it sounded whimsical. India wasn't part of the equation. Not even remotely. I didn't do yoga. I had no deep yearning to see the Taj Mahal or tour Hindu temples. Indian food? I could take it or leave it.
Yet on a whim, Katrell did go. She witnessed the throngs at the Ganges River, toured the tea fields of Darjeeling, and helped string pearls in conservative Hyderabad. But it was in a crowded Buddhist orphanage where she crossed paths with some girls who would change the course of her life.
One night we had a conversation about their futures. What did they hope to be when they grew up? They didn't have any answers. The fear that consumed them was leaving the orphanage. What would happen on the day they were asked to gather their things and leave--to walk out the door and be all alone on the street with no one to turn to and nowhere to go?
With her mind racing about their grim futures, Katrell reached the simple conclusion that she couldn't walk away. So instead she walked forward—on a mission to help them in any small way. Once back at her shop, an idea for The Learning Tea was born. By selling tea, cupcakes, scones, and other treats, Katrell raised enough funds to provide life necessities for the girls—safe housing, uniforms, medical care, tutoring, and ultimately, a college education for each of them. To date, The Learning Tea has helped eleven young girls who once faced the bleakest of futures.
Tiger Heart recounts Katrell's riveting adventures back to India, through the chaotic streets of Mumbai, to tiny villages with roadside tea huts and hot samosas, to elephant crossings and snow-capped mountain switchbacks of the Himalayas—an unexpected backdrop where she fell in love with a country that was gorgeous and heartbreaking all at once, where tragedy, humor, resilience and kindness were inextricably bound. From dodging feral monkeys, to slamming shots of whiskey to win acceptance at a local Rotary Club, to forging lasting friendships with the people who stepped up to help her cause, Tiger Heart offers a shot-gun seat on an inspiring trek across the globe, capturing the essence of India: its quirks, its traditions, and its people.
Fate may have led Katrell to a tiny spot on a map, but it was a kinship that brought her back home a half a world away. Tiger Heart is a life-affirming look at the ties that bind and the power of each of us to make a difference.
Katrell Christie is the founder and owner of The Learning Tea, a project which provides schooling and a safe haven for impoverished young women in India. Through her efforts with The Learning Tea, Ms. Christie has changed the lives of many women living in Darjeeling, India. Visit TheLearningTea.comfor more information.
Shannon McCaffrey is an award-winning reporter focusing on investigative stories for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.She is an avid reader, a mother, and a runner.
Although I cannot help financially, I feel honored in having read this book and being given a choice to post it on my blog, which I hope will help in some way. I really enjoyed reading the story, and I strongly admire Katrell's spirit in helping the young women in India by setting up scholarships and giving them a chance to acclimate to larger cities. The story also comes with a lot of sense of humor of helping people learning to navigate India, funny incidents that have happened to her and to others and very touching moments occur as well when Katrell achieves her goals. While I thoroughly enjoyed the memoir, I did feel that towards the end, the love prospect was a little out of place: I guess I want to know how the husband helps Katrell out with her project, and the romance didn't seem to really match the rest of the book where Katrell focuses on getting the project off the ground. Other than that, a wonderful memoir that's a blend of warm-hearted moments, comedy and a very determined soul and heart.
This is for TLC Book Tours
TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for Tiger Heart:
Monday, September 28th: Bookchickdi
Wednesday, September 30th: Run Wright
Thursday, October 1st: Lit and Life
Monday, October 5th: Read. Write. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 6th: The Things We Read
Monday, October 12th: Dreaming Big Blog
Wednesday, October 14th: Raven Haired Girl
Thursday, October 15th: A Bookish Affair
Friday, October 16th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, October 21st: The Reading Cove Book Club
Wednesday, October 21st: #redhead.with.book
Monday, October 26th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, October 30th: Bibliotica
TBD: A Book A Week4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)