In Pam Houston's can't-put-down collection of essays, A Little More About Me
, she describes her globe-trotting adventures spanning five continents with candor and humor, but it's the emotional journey that hits home. We travel vicariously as Houston treks through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan or dozes while a pride of lions passes her Botswana campsite, but we're right there with her when she talks about her anger-filled childhood, her lifelong obsession with weight, and of course, a penchant for strong, silent types. Her willingness to put herself at risk is her way of coping with these insecurities--each victory on skis or in hiking boots a triumph over those nasty demons. A self-professed nature nut (this is a woman who owns her own horses), Houston is addicted to the next challenge (she's broken seven bones and has twice had search parties sent out for her). Through self-reflection and therapy, however, she's come to realize that saying no to a dangerous endeavor can be just as empowering as conquering any class V rapid. When she opts not to continue a particularly tricky climb in her essay "On (Not) Climbing the Grand Teton," she explains that "true success [lies] within the failure, in listening to my fear and standing firm in my desire to go back down." Houston's writing is straightforward and doesn't get mired in innuendo--she tells it like it is. And because she's not afraid to admit her fears and mistakes, we truly root for her to achieve the balance she's seeking. Though some might find it hard to empathize with someone whose concessions include drawing the line at camping out in 20-degree-below temperatures rather than 60-below, on a fundamental level we can relate. Our coping mechanisms might not be as detrimental to our health, but they are just as real. The powerful messages in A Little More About Me
are well worth pondering. --Jill Fergus
From Library Journal
Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness) has captured the essence of truly living and loving life in her latest work. This collection includes essays (six published here for the first time) written over a period of five years. For Houston this was a time filled with adventure. She traveled extensively through 43 countries on five continents, experiencing the emotional highs and lows of living dramatically face to face with nature. In "Powerhouse by the Brook," written about whitewater rafting in the Rockies, the reader experiences the pull of the rapids, "the water thundering around" and the "roar of the falls." Houston's bold and brash essays cannot completely hide her vulnerability and reflect her search for a balanced truth. Whether she writes about Tibet, Bolivia, or Pennsylvania's Poconos, Houston's essays share a common quest for artistic, spiritual, and emotional satisfaction. Recommended for all public libraries.-ACynde Bloom Lahey, New Canaan Lib., CT
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