Louise Linton, who lives in California, co-wrote In Congo’s Shadow: One Girl’s Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa with the author Wendy Holden. The book was published through CreateSpace.
On 1 July, a promotional piece appeared in the Telegraph – How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare. It described her experience as “rife with hidden dangers”, hiding from armed rebels, witnessing random acts of violence, contacting malaria and too many close encounters with lions, elephants, crocodiles and snakes.
Reactions to the article accused Linton of using clichés and misrepresentation, attracting the hashtag #LintonLies on Twitter. Okayafrica.com called the book, “the dumbest, most egregious piece of writing on Africa of the 21st Century”.
Linton was also challenged about her assertion that violence between the warring Hutu and Tutsi people had spilled into Zambia.
Guardian writer Lydia Ngoma said the memoir had made her wonder “how many other countries around the world people like her have falsely documented and gained credit for”.
The book has sold more copies – moving from number 1,230 in Amazon’s memoir category up several hundred places. Of the 190 reviews, however, 91 are one-star.