Monday, February 1, 2010


In 1986, Susan Jane Gilman and a classmate embarked on a bold trek around the globe starting in the People's Republic of china. At that point, China had been open to independent backpackers for roughly ten minutes. Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche and Linda Goodman's Love Signs, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai.

Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads--hungry, disoriented, stripped of everything familiar, and under constant government surveillance. Soon, they began to unravel--one physically, the other psychologically. As their journey became increasingly harrowing, they found themselves facing crises and Susan didn't think they'd survive. But by summoning strengths she never knew she had--and with help from unexpected friends--the two travelers found their way out of a Chinese heart of darkness.

A once in a life time excursion, maybe I would do it, maybe not. With only knowing a few words from the Mandarin dialect, no Chinese what-so-ever, I definitely would not have gone. But that's me. The story astonished me totally. I pictured in my mind the situations that were being described and oh boy, but, through the author's written words I was travelling in China. At times, I was fearful that the outcome of the story was not going to end happily. All in all, a really a good story and quite and undertaking for these two girls. I give it 4 stars.