Go and Come Back

Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

One of the reasons I love being part of a YA book group, is that it sometimes makes me read a book I would not necessarily choose myself. Go and Come Back is the perfect example. The cover is dark and unattractive. I don't think I would have picked it up. But when my wonderful YA book group in Eugene, Oregon decided to read it, I bought a copy. I have treasured it ever since.

In this multi-award-winning novel, two female American anthropologists come to stay in a jungle village near the Amazon. The villagers are initially skeptical, especially teenaged Alicia. But as the months go on, Alicia finds herself drawn in, even becoming friends with one of the women.

Oddly, this is not a YA novel I would easily recommend to any child. But as a writer I am fascinated with how well it is written. The voice of a child in Peru is totally authentic. The book gives a glimpse into a foreign culture, which includes daily and social habits with which I was not at all familiar. I found it an intriguing story, well written and captivating.

Goodreads.com has this information about the author:
Joan Abelove is an American writer of young adult novels. She attended Barnard College and has a Ph.D in cultural anthropology from the City University of New York. She spent two years in the jungles of Peru as part of her doctoral research and used the experience as background for her first novel, Go and Come Back (1998). Go and Come Back earned numerous awards and citations, including a "Best Books for Young Adults" selection of the American Library Association and "Book Prize Finalist" selection of the Los Angeles Times. she also wrote Saying it Out Loud. She is also in a critique group with Gail Carson Levine, writer of "Ella Enchanted" and "Writing Magic", a guide for child authors who wish to make their stories better. Joan Abelove now lives in New York city with her husband and son.

ISBN: 0141306947 (ISBN13: 9780141306940)

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

Here's rare review of an adult book. I generally prefer kids' books but this is one of my all time favourite travel reads.

“I move throughout the world without a plan, guided by instinct, connecting through trust, and constantly watching for serendipitous opportunities.” —From the Preface

Tales of a Female Nomad is the story of Rita Golden Gelman, an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence. At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of connecting with people in cultures all over the world.
She sold her possessions and became a nomad, first living in a Zapotec village in Mexico. Then sharing life with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.

I especially like how she 'simply' followed her heart and lived by chance encounters.

The second book is 'Female Nomad and Friends' - an anthology of stories and recipes from around the world. Royalties benefit  women's education in India.

Now if only I can find my copy of the book back! If you borrowed it, please return it!
Check out these related websites:


http://ritagoldengelman.com/home.html (the author even offers to mail you an autographed book for 15.- no postage!)

The Freedom of Jenny by Julie Burtinshaw

The Freedom of Jenny by Julie Burtinshaw

When I first read this book, I was entralled. Not only by the story of an African American family who buy their own freedom and travel west on the pioneer trail. But specifically by the fact that Jenny ultimately settles on the Gulf Island where I now live.

Jenny Estes shares her father's dream of freedom. But for Jenny, who was born into slavery in Missouri in the 1840's, freedom seems an impossible dream. She toils alongside her mother in the steaming kitchen of the Leopold plantation, trying her best to be humble and obedient so that Mrs. Leopold won't sell her to a slave-trader. But when she's not drying dishes or mixing biscuits, Jenny finds time to practice her reading, a skill that ultimately helps the family plan their migration and realize their dream.

The Estes family faces a formidable journey: a grueling passage from Missouri to Saltspring Island, Canada. Along the way, Jenny's family faces scarlet fever, racial persecution, the arduous Oregon Trail, warring native Haidas, and finally, the challenges of homesteading. Jenny's spirit and fortitude in the face of many adversities make her a heroine all young readers can look up to.

Based on a true story, this tale is a gripping account of one young girl's coming-of-age in troubling and unsettling times.
Once I moved to Salt Spring Island, I saw historical photos of the family on which this story is based. I have met their ancestors. I am fascinated by this well written book and a history so close to home.

Raincoast, ISBN 1551928396

Lone Wolf by Kristine L. Franklin

This book was published by Scholastic in 1997 but I had not read it earlier. Picked it up this week and couldn't put it down.
Lone Wolf is one of those wonderfully written stories that draw you in and invite you to stay.
Perry is caught between divorced parents. His father does not share feelings nor talk much. Perry and his dad become lone wolves in the northern woods of Minnesota. A new neighbor family, bustling with kids, love and art, make Perry realize what he is missing.
The story flows naturally and is a great read for both boys and girls, nature lovers and kids dealing with divorce.
Highly recommended.

Lone Wolf by Kristine L. Franklin
Scholastic, 1997, ISBN 0-590-55105-1