Robyn Davidson, 1980

Premise: A memoir of one woman's solo journey across the Australian desert. 

I tried to start this book a few times, but the beginning didn't really hook me. This time, fortified by some recent recommendations on a forum for outdoorsy women, I pushed on and quite enjoyed it once the story picked up. 

I wish I'd realized earlier in the book that it was released in 1980 and took place in 1977. (I knew it wasn't a modern book, but I didn't realize it was quite that old when I started reading.) Aspects of the relationships between people and the political situations and people's attitudes make much more sense with that context.

I think I was initially frustrated because much of the first part of the book chronicles Robyn's struggles to prepare for the trip she wants to take, but it takes her a long time to actually make much progress toward her trip. Eventually, the narration acknowledges this (including her feelings of ambivalence, aimlessness, mixed feelings about actually taking a trip, etc.), and I felt more connected to her character. 

I liked her descriptions and impressions of the Australian wilderness and the camels she used to cross it. I liked her attempts to convey the altered mental state she felt making that journey, mostly alone.

Overall I liked the book, but I didn't love it.

3 Stars - A Good Book


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