In honor of Random Acts of Publicity Week (thanks to Darcy Pattison’s Fiction Notes) I plan to write about some of my favorite recently read books. Now, I don’t have much experience writing book reviews (it shows, doesn’t it?). However, I have been reading books forever (since the womb, people), and as with wine and art, I know what I like.
In Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, a girl takes a journey of self-discovery through Europe, prompted by her dead artsy aunt. The fun premise ended in a heart-warming and satisfying way. And I just read last night that she is working on a sequel.
Strangely enough, it reminded me of all the backpackers I met in Africa. Most were Australian, traveling in ones and twos all around the world for as long as it took. If money ran out, they’d stop wherever they were and work for a bit. They slept in hostels and on rooftops, anywhere, really.
I occasionally offered them a ride in my double cabin pick up truck, and even had one or two over for a meal. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, even though I was sharing resources that were not my own. I enjoyed their stories of all the places they had visited. And I felt like I was helping someone else out. It also gave me a glimpse into another world. It wasn’t something I could imagine doing, even though I had taken a huge leap into the unknown by taking a job in a war-torn country on a continent I had never visited.
However, I did travel alone a bit in Europe while a college student. Ginny in 13 Envelopes mostly travels alone, as well. We both experienced the loneliness of trains and hostels and wide-open public spaces. But she found some romance along the way, while I found harrassment. Oh well. C’est la vie.