The Operation Awesome theme for the #atozchallenge 2021 is book reviews (even though we're a blog about the publication journey, not a book review blog-- the team loves to read!). I've selected books by Debut Authors that I've interviewed on this blog.
Today's post is late because I have had a *Day.* 😒
You can check out my interview with this awesome author here: Interview
This review contains spoilers
This was an interesting book to read. It's sprinkled with sailing lingo (such as mooring balls). Anyone planning on taking up sailing, or going on long-term travels across continents, should certainly read this book first. It's realistic and honest, a behind-the-scenes that shows the grit, not just the glory. I rarely read travel memoirs.
I feel it was brave of Liesbet to share so much with the audience. Parts of this are like reading a diary. There are some relationship ups and downs that not everyone would be so comfortable sharing. And there are worrisome parts, like some of her descriptions of Mark. She talks about his habit of criticizing her in public in front of their friends. "When Mark is in these frustrated moods... I feel their anxiety... we all lower our heads." He was willing to wear a ring in his previous marriage, but argues (though caves) about doing it for this one. "Fact is, each time he yells or boils over with frustration, I can't focus on things I enjoy, like writing. All I do is cower."
I interviewed this debut author at Operation Awesome, and was given a free copy of this book. This is my honest and unbiased review. We are both members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which is thanked in the acknowledgments.
There are a lot of great excerpts I could share. And the pictures at the end of the book are absolutely stunning. "Happiness comes from within. It's presented in fleeting moments; it's found when you feel at peace with the decision you've made." That's a really profound quote.
"When we arrive in (spoiler location), we're homeless." That's something to really take in, something people don't really think about. It matches chapter 18, where she mentions the difference between buying things for enjoyment instead of things to survive and prevent sinking.
"I chose travel over stuff."
"What does luck have to do with making decisions or shaking responsibilities to pursue freedom?" The author has such a strong and unique mindset, it's very inspiring.
Mayonnaise with fries... I've never had that.
The scene with the sea lions was my favorite. I read the whole book to see how it would turn out. Having interviewed the author, I know where she was and how she was living in 2020, so I wanted to know why she "got off the boat" so to say. The book is tragic at times (cancer, cancer, more cancer, freaking cancer again, oh look- it's cancer). Mini-spoiler but also trigger warning: the dogs do not survive in this book. The book has as many plot twists as life can throw at a person. But it's inspirational and entertaining, and makes one think about travel and all the places there are to go on our "blue marble." The author is certainly an authority on the subject, having lived it and getting magazines to publish her articles about her various adventures. The book is well-edited and the author's voice is strong.
"The Pan-American highway does not connect the American continents." I never knew that. Or really thought about it. I always assumed that it was possible to travel directly to South America from North America- but apparently, it is not simple. (The highway ends in Yaviza. I just looked it up on Google Maps.)
Liesbet briefly mentions that being from a socialist country is the reason she wasn't broke and could travel. And how it saves her country money. Fascinating. It doesn't cover everything, but it certainly helps.
The book is hard to put down because the chapters each end with a reason to need the next one. Good suspense! If Liesbet ever gets into writing mystery novels, they'll be excellent.
I couldn't relate to sailing, as I've never done that on this scale. But I've dumped and been dumped, I've traveled, and I've lost loved ones. The animals and wildlife were the best parts of the settings. There's a scene in the book where they make a friend who has the same name as my spouse! That was fun for me, "Hey, what are you doing in this book? Sailing without me?" Haha.
The book is beneficial to society because it gives the reader a reason to think about how a different mindset and choices can result in an entirely different life. Not an easier one, but certainly a different one.
What genre do you hope Pass or Pages will use this year?