The book meanders. Dinesen moves from memory to memory, going forward and backward in time. She truly describes a love for Africa. However, missing from the book is much of her ACTUAL life, i.e. relationships. Towards the close, her emotions are more apparent, but this expression lacked throughout most of the book. I got the impression that she was some sort of naturalistic observer, disconnected at times.
I didn't mind that the narrative wasn't straightforward. Don't assume there will be a plot of any kind. I could certainly glean the hard-working nature of Dinesen - made me think of the main characters of Willa Cather's pioneer novels, of the Scandinavian farm women who were fiercely independent. Yet, because of the lack of structure, there were times when I felt myself drifting away, waiting for the next chapter to start. In contrast, there were times when I was engrossed.
The movie certainly took great liberty from the memoirs. Things in the book that were passed over in a paragraph or two had much longer scenes. Additionally Denys was barely mentioned in the memoirs.
Certainly she has the air of a rich, European looking down condescendingly at times to the African people. A product of the times, really. I think reading this book along with another book about Africa in the same time period would be a great contrast of narrator. As much as you may think Dinesen is speaking down all the time with a shake of her head, she is more attached to the African people and way of life than to her own Danes. Additionally it didn't seem she was taking advantage of anyone.
The short biography at the beginning was more interesting than the rest of the book, sadly. Dinesen kept out her private life, which was interesting and would have added a lot to the book.