Monday, March 10, 2008

The Best Women's Travel Writing 2006 Edited by Lucy McCauley

The essays in this collection come in two varieties:

1. A woman (or women) face a physical challenge such as running river rapids in Oregon, getting caught in a flood in Malaysia, or getting thrown from a bus in Tibet. The women survive, and are stronger for their experience.

2. A woman (or women) face a mental challenge such as missing the bus in Oaxaca, going to cooking school in Australia, or behaving properly at a wedding in Mongolia. The women survive, and are stronger for their experience.

I cannot imagine a more formulaic batch of essays than the ones in this volume. Skip the book and just make one up for yourself (choose one item from each set of parentheses):

“A woman who has recently (undergone a divorce/ survived breast cancer/ left her career as a management consultant) decides to travel alone to (Bhutan/ California/ Argentina/ Denmark). While there she (gets lost/ meets a sexy Frenchman/ encounters bandits/ is hit by a car). As she recovers from her (injuries/ love affair/ brush with the law) she learns to appreciate her (resourcefulness/ access to clean water/ health insurance)."

If these essays are the best women’s travel writing of 2006, then all I can say is that 2006 was a bad year for travel writing.

(Book 8, 2006)


Rover said...

Perhaps the writers are hoping a Hollywood producer will read their particular essay and will pay them a million dollars for the rights to make a block-buster movie out of it.

Anonymous said...

Hee, hee -- this is really hilarious, Becky. You are too right. But memoirs like that are the ones that make it big. I haven't read it yet, but isn't "Eat, Pray, Love" along these lines?

Doreen Orion said...

My upcoming travel memoir took place on a bus with my husband.

We didn't get divorced, I didn't have sex with a Frenchman (just my psychiatrist husband), the worst medical trauma during the year of our trip was my chipping a tooth on the bus door, we WERE victims of an armed robbery (but it happened off the bus, so I guess doesn't count), I did survive, but rather than becoming stronger for the experience, I developed a bus phobia.

Guess that means I'm stuck waaaay below midlist.

Becky Holmes said...

Susan, I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love either, but a friend warned me that I would hate it. She said, on second thought, that I might like "Eat," but that I would hate "Pray" and "Love." The good thing about this blog is that people learn what I like and dislike, and then warn me away from stinkers.

Becky Holmes said...

Doreen, and according Melissa (the first commenter) you won't get a movie made about your adventures, either.

Doreen Orion said...

I'm still hoping for Angelina Jolie to play me. I know, I know, it's the obvious choice - although she'd have to lose some weight, first.

Becky Holmes said...

Doreen, let me know how that pans out, you and Angelina. Meanwhile, everyone else take a look at Doreen's web site about her travel narrative, which sounds a heck of a lot better than the one I just read:

Doreen Orion said...

Thanks, Becky!

(And I'll keep you posted on me and Angie - note we're on a nickname basis now.)

andy said...

your blog is very good
i have a site can we exchange links

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