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Margaret Dopirak’s Missionary Kid: Born in India, Bound for America tells the touching story of a young girl’s ‘coming of age’ journey from childhood to young adult. Born in a land beset by war and tropical disease, Margaret’s book tells of her longing for the sight unseen – America – even while she experienced life in India as a time filled with family, faith and adventure.
If you are looking for a good read that will absorb, inspire and delight you, this book is the one!
I can truly say that this was one of the best-written memoirs I've ever read.
The writing class that Ms. Dopirak refers to at the beginning of the story may have served her well, but I suspect that she emerged from her primary and secondary education with an above-average grasp on the mechanics of good English composition and effective writing.
There is an unmistakable element in this memoir of a time gone by in the world — in both India and the United States — a time when, in the years before the Cold War, there was an innocence and youthful zest attached to growing up, and Ms. Dopirak's writing does an admirable job of capturing that essence. I was glad when I realized Ms. Dopirak was going to end the narrative at the close of her growing-up years — precisely because of the aforementioned factor. At the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, something changed in America, and what had gone before could never be recaptured.
An Amazon Top 50 Reviewer
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Having grown up in the 1950s in a Christian and Missionary Alliance church I was on the receiving end of numerous reports of missionaries on furlough. Typically on a Sunday evening they would come dressed in native costumes and with countless slides of what life was like in Africa, South America, or south Asia. This is one reason why I read with such fascination "Missionary Kid," a memoir written by Margaret Essebaggers Dopirak. Although from the many presentations I had listened to and watched as a youth I had gained some understanding of what life was like for missionaries and their children when they weren't on furlough, this book opened my eyes to the realities of day-to-day life, the deprivations and dangers, the illnesses endemic to the fields where they lived, and, on the other hand, the joys they experienced as they brought the Gospel to those native to the land where they toiled. This well-written and compelling memoir fleshed out my comprehension of something of which I had only gained a small glimpse as a youth. "Missionary Kid" is a book I would highly recommend for anyone who is interested in what life was like for the missionaries who left the comforts of their homeland to help fulfill the Great Commission.
I also found this a fascinating read because of a couple points of contact that I discovered I had with the author. The college she went to in the states, Elmhurst College, is just ten miles to the east of Wheaton College, the one I attended. . . . . The second point of contact is that she grew up in the Evangelical and Reformed church, which was the result of the 1934 merger of the Evangelical Synod and the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS).
I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing an honest review, which I am more than happy to provide.
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A True-To-Life Peek Into A Different Time and Place
Between such well known books such as Michener's "Hawaii" and Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible", missionary work has provided the raw material for fascinating fiction. This enjoyable memoir of a real "missionary kid" shares the true life experiences behind such fiction, as experienced by a child of protestant missionaries to India in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. From bedbugs and roundworms to servants and world travel, from deep family ties to years away at boarding school, this memoir highlights how the life work of their parents affected the lives of missionary kids, in both positive and potentially negative ways. I highly recommend this well written and entertaining autobiography.
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A must read engaging book!
Ms Dopirak's memoir takes us to another time and place. It is a lovely personal account of an American child growing up in the last remnants of a colonial society in India. For those of us that grew up in the same time period in North America it gives great insight into the experiences of a young girl traveling with her family around the world encountering elephants,cobras and malaria; overcoming fear and anxiety on long travels on crowded buses,trains, and steamers to escape the turmoil of World War II; and returning to India after the war to life in a religious boarding school.Her experiences not only take you to India, but also Australia, Egypt, Italy, Switzerland and England.
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A glimpse into an unusual life
If you've ever wondered what a missionary kid's life was like in an exotic locale like India, this book is for you. The author takes as "normal" things like malaria, intestinal worms, roach bites, eye infections as part of living in India, yet also lets us know why she considered India "home" and loved being there. Growing up in the '40s, she also gives us a glimpse of how daily life in her boarding school reflected a more innocent time in which to grow up. I only wish she had included more of her letters home during that time. I think she has the makings of another book!
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved it!
I found Ms. Dopirak's memoirs both interesting and delightful. She has an enchanting way of writing about the very important feelings a young girl had growing up in a very unusual situation. I loved it!
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wonderful journey back in time!! Amazing memoir ~ transcending oceans and continents... Reflections of youth and innocence~strength and diversity. Turning the last page leaves you longing to hold onto a sliver of your own childhood with such fondness!!
Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Margaret H. Essebaggers Dopirak was a missionary child, an MK or Missionary Kid. Her parents were missionaries in India in the 1930s and after World War II, tending to the sick and the poor, including those with the dreaded disease of leprosy. In fact, Margaret, or Margie as her friends and family called her, was born in India and spent most of her growing up years in various disease-ridden and destitute parts of the country until she was sent to the MK boarding school at Highclerc (or Kodai School), situated in the South India Palani Hills. Her experiences in India included many joys and sorrows and lots of frightening episodes, like the cockroaches that tried to eat her alive on her train ride home from school, or the countless fever-induced illnesses that she endured during her childhood. But, there were friendships forged that lasted a lifetime, and family bonding was stronger than one would see in most families. Thank you for sharing your story.
Reviewed By Gisela Dixon for Readers’ Favorite
4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Missionary Kid: Born in India, Bound for America by Margaret H. Essebaggers Dopirak is an autobiographical account of life in the mid-twentieth century in India from a foreigner’s perspective. Missionary Kid chronicles the author’s life growing up in India just as colonial rule was coming to an end there. Her parents were missionaries and a large part of her childhood and early teenage years was spent in India. . . . . . . . Margaret H. Essebaggers Dopirak takes us through the heat and tropical conditions of India, catching tropical illnesses such as malaria, and of course the native culture and places. We also learn about her life after she leaves India, her college experiences, relationships, and more. There are several photographs sprinkled throughout the book as well which add to the book’s narrative. . . . . an interesting glimpse into life on two continents and different societies and cultures. . . . . I found Margaret’s life story interesting and different and was glad to get a glimpse into that era.
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A beautifully written and illustrated memoir with exceptional detail, clarity and food for thought.
This wonderful memoir took me back to a time when I was a child and to a place that I never could have imagined. I was captivated as I read about the author's vivid experiences with people I never knew and places I'd never been, but which came alive through Ms. Dopirak's wonderful gift of storytelling. Living in India with servants and nannies and gardeners, but in a loving family of modest means and noble aspirations; experiencing life-threatening illnesses and exposures that couldn't be treated with either "modern medicine" or "quick fixes;" leaving home at a very young age for boarding school and the hardships (as well as good times) that ensued; sailing to America for the very first time when war and great peril hovered menacingly, only to bond with family members and later return to India and to boarding school for the duration of her parents' assignment. These are the nuts and bolts of a great story told with wonderful detail and clarity. There is a place for this book in our schools: in social studies; in history classes; in English classes. It has potential for great discussions and I highly recommend it!
4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I recommend it, and not just for MKs (Missionary Kids)
What a charming and heart-felt book. I recommend it, and not just for MKs (Missionary Kids), PKs (Preacher's Kids), or any one else with a unique association with religion.
Honest childhood memoir of life in a missionary family abroad in India. Format: Kindle Edition
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Margaret Essebaggers Dopirak tells an interesting and candid personal story about her life growing up in a missionary family stationed in India. She also recounts the small part of her childhood that was spent in the USA while her family was on furlough during World War II. It was a fascinating account of a unique childhood that takes the reader to a point in India's history and her own that can never be replaced. From the perspective of a child, we see the aspirations, accomplishments, and struggles of her missionary family. She also recounts the boarding school experiences she had with other missionary children. In her memoir, Ms. Dopirak does not shy away from telling about both the more glowing and the less complimentary personality aspects of herself and those around her. For this reason, it is honest and relatable even though her situation was not one of a typical American child in the 1940s and 1950s. She takes the reader on a journey to view her past experiences with Indian friendships, language, customs, disease, danger, travel, and amazing experiences all taken in stride and when warranted, appreciation. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and meeting the author's loving and adventurous family through this book.
Stephanie C. Fox
Format: Paperback Fascinating look at India of the past and life for foreign children living there.
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What a fascinating look at India of the past, and of how life was for foreign children living and studying there! That is why I wanted to read this book, and I was not at all disappointed. The descriptions of the place, food, people, insects, creatures, clothing, of the physical and logistic difficulties of travel and life there, are all included in this comprehensive tale. It is beautifully written and told, and enables the reader to time-travel and place-travel very effectively. Reading about this author's experiences was well worth the time spent, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A fascinating memoir of growing up in India in the 1940s and 50s. This one will suck you in. Format: Paperback 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is a fascinating memoir of a childhood unlike any most of us could possibly imagine. It is a tale of a bygone era that is so engrossing it reads like fiction. Born to white missionary parents during their first mission to India during the years when India was still ruled by the British Empire. Margaret Essebaggers has written this memoir of her childhood with startling detail. No one remembers their early years with any degree of detail, but through family journals, photographs, and letters she wrote home from boarding school her parents saved, Margaret has been able to write an exquisite account of growing up in India in a time now largely forgotten. I loved seeing the pictures and I do not think this book would be complete without them. Reading about her childhood as an MK or "Missionary Kid." Because I was literally unable to put this memoir down, I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Follow my reviews on Insta gram Amiesbookreviews
An inside story, told first hand with great perspective. April 8, 2018
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Authentic writing, fun to read! Many of her stories and experiences, description of Indian culture, travel, family, bring back memories of these folks and other missionary kids I have known. For those who have an interest in India shortly after British rule, how missionaries handled the war and threat of war...and for those of us who have traveled in India (as I have starting in the 50’s), Margie’s book will strike bells!
Amie's Book Reviews
it was amazing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is a fascinating memoir of a childhood unlike any most of us could possibly imagine. It is a tale of a bygone era that is so engrossing it reads like fiction. Born to white missionary parents during their first mission to India during the years when India was still ruled by the British Empire.
Margaret Essebaggers has written this memoir of her childhood with startling detail. No one remembers their early years with any degree of detail, but through family journals, photographs, and letters she wrote home from boarding school her parents saved, Margaret has been able to write an exquisite account of growing up in India in a time now largely forgotten.
I loved seeing the pictures and I do not think this book would be complete without them. Reading about her childhood as an MK or "Missionary Kid." Because I was literally unable to put this memoir down, I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars.
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Tim P. Essebaggers
Format: Paperback 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is a great read with insight into the life of an American girl, born in India before the 2nd World War. A story of intrigue including cobras, boarding school and a steamer trip back to the US during WW2 with the boom of depth charges and the fear of enemy encounter.
Hard to put this book down. Hoping for a sequel.
John R. Mackay
Format: Kindle Edition 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"Missionary Kid" is an interesting, well-written, and charming memoir. It evokes the magic of the boarding school the author attended in the Palni Hills of South India in the 1940’s and 50’s and at the same time captures the tough realities her parents faced as American missionaries, working on the plains of Western Bengal, their courage and selflessness.
The American missionary movement in India is an inspiring, fascinating, and romantic story. Sadly, there has been a dearth of literature on this subject. With this book, Margaret Dopirak has done her part to remedy that.
Format: Kindle Edition June 19, 2020 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Margaret has shared a well-balanced tale of the various complex forces which shaped the lives of mid-20th-century missionaries to India, as well as their childrens' unusual and sometimes-turbulent upbringing. Speaking as a qualified observer, having myself been a "mishkid" whose parents served in both China and India, where I shortly followed the author to boarding school along with two of her siblings, the joys and horrors of boarding school at a very young age are painfully and accurately portrayed in all their naked reality. Factually reported, with the absolute minimum of self-pity or judgement, is the price the children paid in both health and stability for their parents' religious devotion - never completely at home in either passport or assigned country, sent away for schooling in the care of some very dubious adults whilst their parents "served God" and their mission's native subjects. Make no mistake, this is not a cheery Thomas Cook travelogue, while it does yield a sometimes-delightful and sentimental child's-eye view of two peoples and two countries which compose all mishkids' persons. The reflections of a foreign-born "Third Culture Kid", as others have termed us Global Nomads, is increasingly relevant as an insight into the children of not only missionaries, but business and diplomatic families, as well. In an increasingly-"globalised" world, a worthy primer on the hidden costs and benefits thereof. To Margaret, in the words of our English, Telugu, and Hindi vernaculars, "Shabash! or శబాష్ or शाबाश.