Today I’m taking part in a blog tour through Wow! Women on Writing for Neill McKee’s book, My University of the World: Adventures of an International Film & Media Maker. For other stops on the tour, check out the complete list following my review.
As a young man, Neill McKee volunteered to be a high school teacher in Malaysia through an agency then called Canadian University Services Overseas, or CUSO. Little did he know that that one small action would eventually lead him to finding the woman he loved and a decades long career making educational documentaries. My University of the World is McKee’s account of the impact his work had and the challenges he faced both personally and professionally along the way.
Early in the book McKee says of one of his assignments, “I can’t say taking this job was a completely wrong choice, for I have always found whatever choices you make, you usually learn something new, and something about yourself, which leads to personal growth.” This outlook pervades throughout his story, and it led me to ruminate on how lives unfold from one event to the next without us knowing how things will turn out until time has passed.
McKee’s work focused at times on issues that affected agriculture, forestry, education, health, and more in developing countries. Through his story, I learned about efforts to educate girls especially, and to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as other health issues.
Sometimes, though, I felt the narrative got bogged down with specific details, particularly the names of people McKee worked with on projects, which made reading slow-going until I gave up trying to remember most of them.
I did enjoy reading about how McKee met and wooed his eventual wife, Beth, and the stories of how she adapted to the many moves the family made throughout McKee’s career. All in all, My University of the World provides a first-row seat and personal perspective to some recognizable challenges the world faced in the 1970s, 80s, and beyond.
The author provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.