|book review | July 2016
Page-turners for your summer reading adventures
by Elizabeth Jacobs
By Diane Les Becquets
New York: Berkley (2016)
The struggle to survive in the wilderness has been the subject of countless works of fiction over the years, but Breaking Wild is a more unique example of this genre in that it features a woman in both the role of the survivor and the role of the person attempting to rescue her. Amy Raye Latour goes missing in the Colorado wilderness while on an elk hunting trip. Pru Hathaway is the ranger determined to find out what happened to her. The novel follows Pru and Amy Ray in alternating chapters as Pru seeks answers to the hunter's disappearance, and Amy Raye pushes herself to her physical limits to stay alive.
The third main character in the story is the wilderness itself, which is brought to life by the author's vivid descriptions of the rocky, mountainous terrain and the unyielding elements of nature into which Amy Raye and Pru have ventured. The bleak, unforgiving setting turns out to be a reflection of the two women themselves, both of whom have been shaped by circumstances of the past for which they have been unable to forgive themselves. In this respect, the real mystery of Breaking Wild isn't finding out what happened to Amy Raye, but rather finding out what shaped these women to bring them to the precipice where they find themselves as the story unfolds.
If you're looking for a page-turner for your summer vacation, this book fits the bill. It is a quick, compelling story will have you pulling for the characters to succeed, and will keep you riveted from beginning to end.
It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War
By Lynsey Addario
New York: Penguin (2015)
As a photojournalist coming of age during the War on Terror, Lynsey Addario has been on the ground in some of the most dangerous places in the world. In her memoir, she takes readers along through her assignments across the globe as she documents the places and faces of war. From Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq to Libya, the Congo and beyond, Addario turns her lens primarily on the people caught up in the major conflicts of our time. In her photographs, as well as in her writing, Addario displays great empathy in the way she depicts those affected by war, often choosing to focus her attention on the experiences of women.
In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, Addario is also a gifted writer. As she describes her work and the places she has been she also talks about her personal life and how her professional experiences have shaped who she is. Her adventurous spirit and fearless nature shine through in her writing. She places special focus on the challenges of being one of the few women photographers working in war zones, and of being a woman trying to navigate in countries where women do not enjoy the freedoms we take for granted. She also discusses the difficulty of balancing a career that keeps her away from home for long periods of time with her role as a wife and mother.
This enlightening memoir will take you on an adventure around the world without leaving your reading chair.
Bismarck native Elizabeth Jacobs is assistant director of the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library. Follow the library on Facebook at facebook.com/bismarcklibrary.