Monday, March 1, 2010

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman

This memoir was sent to me by Grand Central Publishing.

Two young women who have just graduated from college decide to take a year off and go backpacking around the globe - beginning in the People's Republic of China.

They speak no Chinese, China had just recently opened up to tourists, and they had no idea where they were going. They were just going to experience new things, new foods, and meet new people.

However, when they end up in Shanghai, it's not quite as charming as the concept had been. They have communal toilets, cockroaches in the rooms, more fish than any other food (and one girl HATES fish), and the Chinese staff doesn't understand English.

They get drawn into the politics of the country, get very sick from the diseases there, and have no one to rely on except themselves. And, soon, they don't even like each other very much anymore.

This is a very authentic look at travel and times in 1986, and you wonder how two young women could feel they could travel safely alone. But we were all young once...

The memoir moves along at a nice pace and has lots of "action" to keep you reading. Try it, I think you'd enjoy it!

No comments: