Kiss the Sunset Pig by Laurie Gough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Laurie Gough has a traveling spirit and is constantly moving away from a consistent, scheduled, routine life, always trying to find a place she feels is full of the exotic other. Through her trip in a jeep named Marcia from Southern Ontario to California, she recounts not only her experiences on the road, but spends several chapters flashing back to her international journey's from years gone by. At first, I did not enjoy her narrative as Gough's voice included a whining edge no matter her life choices. As the story progressed, her narrative morphed from 'why me' to a courageous link of travel choices I would be hard pressed to make. Gough demonstrates a consistent decision to avoid tourist traps in her traveling, instead, making choices to sleep in a cave on the beach for 6 days, sleep in a hollowed out tree for 3 nights, and to brave an unknown countries as she continually arrives with few plans or local contacts. This type of traveling requires a true free spirit, a drive to understand different life experiences, and a trust in the goodness of human relationships. In the end a good book which I did enjoy and whose stories have added a few places to visit or avoid in my own travel plans.
"Gazing at the faces of the fashion-conscious teens and the heavy-set parents pushing ice-cream-eating kids in strollers I long to see the face of a true eccentric, someone who doesn't belong. But in this culture of sameness I can't find anyone like that. That's something I love about outdoor markets, especially those in the developing world or in big cosmopolitan cities: eccentrics are everywhere. The North American mall is one of the West's less enlightened ideas for only occasionally does the enclosed mall exude a noisy excitement of a meeting place. Mainly, instead of being colourful, outlandish, and pulsing with life, malls are sterile; they smell like air freshener rather than ripe fruit, spices and sweat; the music is canned instead of live; and the people inside the malls seem bored, more concerned with buying the latest rend marketed at them than engaging in lively conversation." p. 98
"So there was a spark of light in that trip after all, a single moment asking to be remembered. I see now that the easy road isn't the road to take to find that spark. If we really want to find true beauty in their world, the road to find it can be full of ache, wrenching hurdles, heartbreak and potholes. But it's the road we sometimes need, the one I needed to come across that little girl and her family on that forlorn island after the storm." p. 251
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Laurie Gough's website: http://www.lauriegough.com/