JOURNEY ACROSS TIBET: A Young Woman's 1900-Mile Trek Across the Rooftop of the World by Sorrel Wilby

JOURNEY ACROSS TIBET: A Young Woman's 1900-Mile Trek Across the Rooftop of the World

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Gosh, the Dalai Lama! Gee willikers, a Buddhist stupa! Too often, this potentially fascinating tale of a young Australian woman's three-month trek across Tibet throws pie in its own face by adopting the blushing, Betty Boopish prose of a teen-age diary. What a shame, for there's much to admire here: Wilby's gumption, for one thing, as she fulfills her dream of walking across this uncharted land despite amoebic dysentery, mongrel-dog-attacks, house arrest, stolen cash, broken bones. Her detailed descriptions of nomadic life, for another: Wilby's solitariness and simple garb gain her invitation to many hearths, and she does a special service by recounting the hidden life of Tibetan nomadic women. Then, too, her firsthand experience of grim-gray Chinese architecture and her chats with Chinese torture-victims seem especially apt in light of recent news reports of suppressed rebellions. Restraint, however, is scarcely Wilby's strength. Again and again she slops up her reporting with crude emotional gushings. Here's a distressingly typical passage, when she discovers fleas in her bed: ""I screamed in English, 'I hate this place! I hate you! I hate everything! Oh God, someone blow these mountains away!' And the tears fell in torrents down my tortured cheeks."" Her analytical insights offer no improvement: ""We all dare to dream, but few of us dare to act. We spend our lives hesitating in the wings, not dancing on the stage of life."" For all its useful ethnological information, this comes up as: Gidget Goes to Tibet.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Publisher: Contemporary