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WILD ROOTS: Coming Alive in the French Amazon by [Donna Mulvenna]

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WILD ROOTS: Coming Alive in the French Amazon Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 32 ratings

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Length: 326 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


WILD ROOTS: Coming Alive in the French Amazon

By Dr Margi Prideaux on October 10, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

A new nature writing classic has been born.

It is a rare gift to be transported, effortlessly, into someone else's real life.

Wild Roots: Coming Alive in the French Amazon is a journey of beautiful and complete vignettes that we live as a fellow traveller through the French Amazon. In the union we delight in her discoveries, shudder with her horrors, elevate with her inspiration and laugh at her constant wit.

The author travels halfway around the world to begin her adventure with Frank, and discovers that her biggest journey is into herself. Her new life is filled with challenges and insights, big and small, miraculous and terrible, profound and mundane. Along the way she is embraced by the local community and an amazing world of humour, kindness and custom opens for her - a world where wildlife, big and small are part of every moment. Disconnected from the demands of the electronic world, she finds herself in a beautiful, raw and honest way.

We find quite soon that our soul also touches French Guiana's wildness and we yearn to uproot our lives and follow in her footsteps. The complex weaving of Amerindian, Maroon, Brazilian, Hindustani, Javanese, Chine, Hmong, Creole and European cultures creeps into our being. We long to meet the scarlet ibis, the dolphins, the otters, the turtles and most of all the beautiful serenity of the sloth. We hear of hummingbirds flying through her house, chicks fledgling on her windowsill, coming face to face with a crab dog on the river bank, and a camians red eyes at night. We sit with stillness beneath ancient trees where time slows to the pulse of nature.

Close to the end of Wild Roots the author tells us 'The wilderness is where water is scarce, a traveler walks in the heat without shade and where wild animals live. It is a magical place where you enter feeling far away, distant, absent, and unresponsive and walk out filled with faith, hope, love, joy, and a greater sense of responsibility.'

Transporting a reader into the world of an animal or a wild place is an art form that takes a special skill and empathy, so that we surrender to the moment. Wild Roots delivers that experience on every page.

The author evokes the raw nature reflection of H is for Hawk by Macdonald and Walden by Thoreau, with hints of the poetry of A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Leopold and Desert Solitaire by Abbey. There are moments that echo Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Miracle by Kingslover.

This is an eclectic, deeply satisfying and remarkable journey of coming to understand the wildlife and the wildness of a place and yourself, told by an incredible and wise author. Good books are read many times. I will read Wild Roots again, very soon.

Donna Mulvenna has discovered the intangible language of nature that few people perceive. She generously, effortlessly shares this rare gift with us.

A new nature writing classic has been born.

Just the kind I like: providing information, insight and inspiration.
5 Star review
By R. P. Harton on September 17, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
A very enjoyable book. Just the kind I like: providing information, insight and inspiration. I knew nothing about French Guiana. In Wild Roots, Donna Mulvenna shows me the fascinating, wild land she loves and lets me explore it along with her. Her honest reflections about the joys and risks of making a new country into a home provided me with many windows into my own experiences. I doubt I'll ever visit French Guiana, but Wild Roots inspires me to see my life and my home land with fresh eyes.
Ron Harton, Editor
"You are nature. . .writing"

L. G. Cullens
reviewed WILD ROOTS: Coming Alive in the French Amazon
Are you comfortable in your niche
August 25, 2016
WILD ROOTS: Coming Alive in the French Amazon
by Donna Mulvenna
Publisher: Naturebased Publishing
Publication date: July 10, 2016
Print Pages: 160
Language: English

Book Review by: L. G. Cullens on Aug. 25, 2016

Are you comfortable in your niche, seeming to have a degree of control, yet sometimes fantasize about acting with abandonment and seeing new places? Maybe it's an unconscious feeling you suppress out of fear of where it will lead. Come on now, you can tell me. No? Well then may I suggest reading about how exciting real life can be, and maybe expanding your horizons at the same time. No one else need know you're escaping to another level of being. It's what the doctor prescribes for a gloomy day.

As we join the author, she has made tentative steps in our artificial culture, maybe even making a few false starts as we all have, and is settling into a guarded lifestyle when she meets a new man. No, this isn't a romance novel, unless you think of such as a romance with what life can be. The immersing experiences are related in an at first seemingly naïve voice evoking awe, with a magical blend of subtle humor, touches of irony, sense of place, and insight, delivered at a quick pace. Quick to me at least, as I lost track of time reading this book. Getting further into the book, one realizes how much enlightening experience, and breadth of knowledge is being served up. Only those overly full of themselves could resist being pulled along.

As a small example, even a simple act of taking a dip in the ocean is evocative, "I find swimming in their warm waters to be quite pleasant, or at least it was after I stopped freaking out every time something I couldn't see brushed against me."

There are questioning natural world and biodiversity threads, subtle with a ring of hopefulness. And for the inquiring mind there's also a fair amount of interesting fact asides cleverly interspersed. For example, do you know why French Guiana's geographical location is ideal for launching satellite rockets?

As another example of immersive writing, in this snippet the author is transitioning from a "civilized" world mindset to appreciating Amazonian Nature.

"It wasn't long before illusions of following in the footsteps of eighteenth-century botanist Jean-Baptiste Aublet took root, and I tentatively slipped from the hammock to sit on the grass. However, rather than appreciate the nature around me, I anxiously looked about for armies of man-eating ants or hordes of tail-waving scorpions, cringing the moment so much as a breeze brushed against me."

When it comes to Nature observations, the author doesn't bore you with a mouse in the cupboard. Here she's talking about a Harpy Eagle.

"As well as being an astonishingly powerful bird - imagine legs almost as thick as your arm - they are possibly the most scary-looking of the carnivorous birds. It is the harpies that are depicted in Greek mythology as horrid winged women with their breasts hanging out who swooped down to take humans to the underworld. However, despite this formidable appearance, they really are quite nice to each other. They form monogamous couples that mate for life, chirp to each other as they build a nest, live together for their twenty-five to thirty-five-year lifespan, and devote two years to care for a single chick."

Oh, and you think you have problems with wildlife in your yard? Try catching an enormous iguana making its way to the chicken pen, or helplessly watching as a colony of cassava ants make off with a good part of your garden.

So you don't get the idea that only wildlife falls under the microscope, here's an example of the author's wry humor.

"French Guiana is also a bureaucratic and bungling nightmare, and that is being optimistic. It took six months to open a bank account and longer for a debit card to arrive. On one occasion the wait was so long I asked, "Do you have a toilet?" "Yes, I will show you where it is," said the clerk. Finding the door locked I asked, "May I have the key please?" "Oh no," she said. "We can't give out the key because one of our colleagues got murdered in there!" And at that moment I could understand why something like that may have happened."

I don't know what a pooh-bah writing "expert" might think of this book, but I'd laugh if they missed the point that the dogma we find harborage in is a reflection of our problems. To me everything in these pages melds together in an exciting journey and enjoyable balanced learning experience, and I applaud how the author both entertains the surface reader, and speaks to those that realize there is much more to life on our exciting little blue canoe than we're conscious of.

I truly hope that for all our sakes some of the author's insight and passion finds its way into the minds and hearts of readers.

Wild Roots - Coming Alive in the French Amazon
Review by Mojito with a Twist
December 17, 2017

"I was afraid that Wild Roots would turn out to be a mini-encyclopedia of the wild animals, plants, and other natural elements and that I wouldnot feel connected with the content or the characters of the book, but I am delighted that I was so wrong."

Discover the true happiness in life with Donna Mulvenna as shewrites an unfiltered story about her life in French Guiana in herextraordinary memoir, Wild Roots - Coming Alive in the French Amazon!Life in Australia had always been almost perfect and convenient forDonna and yet that feeling of not belonging there or not being happyenough always nagged her. She had a stable job where everybody respected her opinion, but something was missing. When her French boyfriend,Franck, asked her to move to French Guiana with him, she was excited,confused, and paranoid. All the obvious questions bombarded her brainand filled it with doubt. However, love conquers it all and she took the plunge and joined her boyfriend towards an adventurous life in FrenchGuiana. What awaited there was nothing that she could have ever imagined even in her wildest dreams. Initially, she felt extremely overwhelmedwith this immense change of lifestyle, but gradually French Guiana grewon her. The raw encounters with nature left her in awe and she begancounting her blessings.
I was afraid that Wild Roots would turn out to be a mini-encyclopedia of the wild animals, plants, and other natural elements and that Iwould not feel connected with the content or the characters of the book, but I am delighted that I was so wrong. The things that left meparanoid in the beginning became the sort of content that I startedcherishing while reading Wild Roots. She has reminisced about herencounters with various exotic and/or interesting creatures (birds andanimals) in such a beautiful story-telling manner that they never seemed too informational. The story-telling remained the major part of hermemoir and this factor kept me, as a reader, entertained throughout thereading. I particularly enjoyed the part where she mentioned the myththat one should never turn one's back on a [French] trogon or riskdrowning or have some mishap occur in your life. While turning thepages, I got the privilege of meeting harpies, Agami herons, potoo among others.
Her passion for canoeing and kayaking is quite visible and appealing. This interest of hers not only helped her meet her boyfriend but alsomany exciting friends. Together they went on some extraordinary journeys to have many memorable experiences. But life in French Guiana is not abed of roses for people who are too attached to a life of comfort andluxury. Living in the wilderness sounds impressive, and reading hermemoir, one is sure to consider moving to the French Amazon, but theauthor has clearly warned about the pros and cons of the same.
The troubles that she went through, like finding a "bald mouse"flying in the room, frogs hopping in the toilet, snakes wandering allaround the house, are not something that everybody can cope with. Donna, not only coped with these situations but thrived in those. This iswhere she discovered herself and her true happiness. While we, living in all sorts of conveniences, are feeling uncomfortable with our dailyroutines and monotonous lifestyles, she is totally at ease in thewilderness that challenges her to be a more humble person every day.
Her writing style is filled with humor and reflects the kind ofperson that she is. I enjoyed reading her memoir and would recommend itto the readers who wish to know about a life in the wilderness, FrenchGuiana, French Amazon, and exotic creatures. Reading Wild Roots isdefinitely the most humbling experience. In the least, it would teach us to count our blessings and connect with nature as often as possible.

From the Inside Flap

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Product details

  • File Size : 2257 KB
  • Publication Date : July 10, 2016
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Publisher : STORMBIRD PRESS PARNDANA (July 10, 2016)
  • Print Length : 326 pages
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B01IAC3C9U
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN : 0648022579
  • Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 32 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
32 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Daphne Kapsali
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved reading her descriptions of this beautiful, wild, challenging, unknown place
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 29, 2017
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G. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the description of the Amazonian forest
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 30, 2018
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Books R Best
4.0 out of 5 stars A DIFFERENT WORLD
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 28, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book. I have read it twice so far
Reviewed in Australia on March 23, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars It was amazing. i got carried away reading the book
Reviewed in Australia on June 5, 2017
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