A Midlife Journey
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 A circumnavigation of Lake Superior by kayak becomes an occasion to get past some of life's knotty problems for nature writer and lecturer Linnea, an adventure retold here in the sometimes awkward but always frank language of self-empowerment. Paddling the coastline of the Gitchee Gumee was not just a neat idea for the 43-year-old Linnea, nor was it a test of strength and endurance. For her the journey signified ``the end of some kind of life cycle, and I was hoping the trip would teach me what that was and where I might be going.'' Others have called that a midlife crisis, but Linnea is an advocate of spirit-based change. Thus readers are hit with a goodly dosage of cramped New Age newspeak: Linnea gets advice from aspen trees for her stomach cramps (``Breathe. Slowly. Just like us''); wafts smudges of sage about her head ``to clear her heart and mind''; and in a vibrant revelatory moment her ``body resonated with a feeling of connectedness to everything around [her].'' But even if you find such sentiments a crock, push past them to what shines in this narrative: a frightening journey that took real courage, and Linnea's active appreciation of all the wildness around her. Her brushes with the Grim Reaper are vividly captured, and encounters with lakeside mysteries, such as an ancient stone construct Ö la Stonehenge, are often enjoyed for the simple, ineffable otherworldliness of it allfor the power of the placewithout letting us know how it spoke to her as a primitive creature of the dawn. And not long after her return, she gives her chilly, self- absorbed husband his walking papersa nice reality bite to end on. Empowerment aficionados will be happily sated; the rest of us can find pleasure snacking on the adventure. (one map, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-52683-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1995