Showing posts with label memoirs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memoirs. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews

Two Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories 


We've all heard about hoarders or seen documentaries about them on television. Few of us, however, have grown up in a hoarder's house. The children of hoarders have no choice. I'd like to introduce you to two of those children, now adults, who have written their stories.

Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews
A Hoarder's Living Room Probably Looks More Cluttered than This
By Maschinenjunge [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons


My myLot friend, Lori Moore, wrote The Hoarder's Daughter: Memories of a Life in Chaos. Her mother was not only a hoarder but also an emotional abuser. Lori wrote her book to show others what the life of a hoarder is like and how it often destroys the hoarder's relationship with family and friends. She hopes to help people distinguish between a real hoarder and a messy or really disorganized person that keep a lot of clutter around. She also wanted to finally expose her family secret. She says "Toxic family dysfunction has to be acknowledged before it can be fixed."

Izabelle Winter's father also hoarded his possessions. Izabelle had left home as a young woman to escape the house.When she was married with eight-year-old twin girls and a ten-year-old son, her father fell from a ladder while pruning. He had turned his backyard into a garden all his neighbors admired, but most had never seen the inside of his house.

Izabelle's mother had died nineteen years earlier, after a mental breakdown. Isabelle's brother Ant still lived in the house with his father even though he was long into adulthood. He suffered from learning disabilities that hindered his ability to make decisions and take initiative. Isabelle knew she would have to take charge of getting the house ready for her dad to come home to, probably unable to walk. She wrote Diary of a Hoarder's Daughter to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Lori's Story of Living with Emotional Abuse in a Hoarder's House


Lori writes as an abuse survivor. She dedicates her book to her brother whom she calls "my sibling survivor of the lying, manipulating, stealing, and hoarding person that we un affectionately referred to as 'Mean Mom.'" In the book she calls her mom Louise, though it's not her real name. Louise had so perfected her skills of  intimidation  and inducing guilt that Lori was fifty before she realized she was the abuse victim -- not her mom. Although her brother was also a victim, Lori believes his story is his to tell, not hers, so she tells only her part of it.

Growing Up in a Hoarding House


Lori recalls that the house she grew up in smelled so bad that people almost gagged when they walked in. The house was already full but her mother kept accumulating and the possessions had to go onto the backyard patio. Lori called the junk at the entrance "Mount Trashmore."

There were also health hazards. I won't go into all the horrifying details, but here are a couple to give you an idea. Trash was strewn everywhere. There was an air force of flies and gnats. There were maggots in the toilets and sinks. A stray cat had become part of the household, but no one cleaned the litter box, so the cat stopped using it. I think you've got the picture. It was so bad that Lori's brother, who had inherited the house, had to evict Louise from it after she'd lived there for 19 years.


Trying to Help Louise

After the eviction, Lori and her brother found a low-rent apartment for senior living and Louise didn't even pack since she resisted moving. Lori and her brother had supplied the new residence with clean furnishings and clothing and stocked the apartment with food. Louise had already begun to hoard again a month after she had this chance to start fresh. After four months she had done no cleaning, dishwashing or laundry.

How This Affected Lori

Lori's parents divorced when she was eleven. Her father and brother were now a hundred miles away and she missed them. Her mother neglected her and she was often hungry. This probably is part of what led to Lori's eating disorder. Lori also suffered the lack of love, security, protection, and approval she craved. She believes her mother was incapable of providing it. 

Because of the emotional abuse and the secrecy the hoarding behavior required, Lori was socially isolated. She could not have friends over.  She has been through years of therapy to deal with the abuse she has endured.  

In spite of what she suffered during childhood as a hoarder's emotionally abused daughter who struggled with guilt, lack of parental support, and social isolation, Lori has had a successful adult life. She has four graduate academic degrees and has been an adjunct professor and an upper level manager for large corporations. She has also written several books besides this one. 

Things I Learned from Lori's Book


Besides just telling her story, Lori did a lot of research on hoarding and emotional abuse. She covers some of these areas:  
  • Ways in which emotional abuse and hoarding are related. 
  • Manifestations of Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Symptoms of a Cognitive Disorder
  • Cognitive Symptoms of Depression
As I was reading through the behavior of someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, something hit me like a bolt of lightning. I believe that's what my daughter suffered from. It may be part of the reason for her suicide as an adult

Izabelle's Efforts to Clear Space in a Hoarder's House


Izabelle Winter, a busy mother with a part-time job, had to completely disrupt her life for over a month to suddenly deal with what she saw as her "personal Everest" that she had to climb -- alone! She even refers to the clutter in her father's house as "The Mountain" whenever she writes about dealing with it. Because she found around sixty pairs of shoes in the clutter she went through, she calls her father Imelda in the book, after Imelda Marcos.

Climbing "Everest"


Izabelle had a deadline to clear enough space in the house for her father and visiting outside help to function. He could not be released from the hospital with a broken back until this was done. Wheelchair or walker access might also be needed.  He needed to be able to get to his bed and an accessible bathroom.

The problem with clearing space in a hoarder's house is that there is no room for sorting. Every available space in Imelda's house was filled with junk from floor to ceiling -- every room, every cupboard, and every path through the house. The kitchen, bathroom, and stairs were also full. None of the items were organized. Junk mail mixed with shoes, clothes, spare parts, broken items, unopened packages of children's clothes, money inside magazines and receipts, trash ... well you get the idea. Izsabelle describes her feelings here:

I felt as though I was at Everest base camp, all  alone, wearing just flip-flops and a woolly hat. I was totally unprepared for the nightmare I faced; totally terrified by it and afraid I'd fall on the way up the mountain. I just wanted to go home and hide. 

Health Issues


To add to Izabelle's problem, she had severe dust allergies and asthma. She sometimes had been unable to breathe when around too much dust. This often sent her to the hospital and she almost died there once. How was she to attack clearing the space Imelda needed?  Even on her visits to him she always talked to him outside in the garden.

After he fell, whenever she entered the house to work she had to wear a dust mask, trousers, and long sleeves. When she started the clearing project, she had to recruit help, often from her brother Ant, to carry boxes of stuff outside so she could sort there.

Helpful People Who Told Comforting Stories


You can just imagine Izabelle's life, caring for her children, working on "The Mountain," and visiting Imelda in the hospital every afternoon just before going to work in the late afternoon. I will leave the details for you to read in the book. She attacked the junk piles methodically and searched through every pile or box before throwing anything from it in a trash bag. Close friends and neighbors often helped her, and they told her stories about her mother from the good years. She appreciated that. She also unearthed diaries her mother had written that showed how the hoarding had affected her.

It's Hard to Cure a Hoarder

This first video is very sad. We watch a woman choose her stuff above her relationships. She just can't let go. But we do get a feel for why some people hoard and why they can't stop even with professional help.


This next video shows us two other hoarders who may be headed for a more normal life. But you can see how hard it is for them to make the changes that are good for them. 



Success?


When Imelda was finally released from the hospital, Izabelle had cleared enough space so he could come home and sleep in his bed and take care of his needs. She and her friends had worked almost nonstop in every spare minute. Later Izabelle and Imelda were approached to participate in a BBC documentary show on hoarding. After much soul searching and discussion with the producers, they decided to participate. Later they did a follow-up episode. Before that episode, professionals came to clear the living room enough to allow Imelda's grandchildren to get to the sofa so they could sit there together to interact. The camera view of the room was clear, even though some stuff still remained outside the camera view.

The idea was that they took everything out and were hoping Imelda wouldn't want to bring it all back in, but he did want to bring most of it back in. Izabelle didn't visit much that first month. She wanted to see if her father would actually clear anything he had said he would.

Six months after the program was filmed, Imelda's stuff was creeping back up the stairs and into other places Izabelle had cleared. She decided it's his house and she would let him live as he chose. It's hard for a hoarder to change -- even with professional help. She accepted he'd never change at 83. Ten months after the fall, at the time the book was written, the house was filling up again.



Contrasting These Memoirs by Hoarding House Survivors


Both books discuss these topics.

  • Some reasons people hoard
  • Broken family relationships due to hoarding
  • Experiences of family members trying to help hoarders
  • Descriptions of hoarder house conditions
  • Health hazards of hoarding and living with a hoarder

Unique Content in The Hoarder's Daughter by Izabelle Winter

Izabelle had a deadline to meet and had to act quickly to meet it. She emphasizes the emotional and physical struggles of clearing rooms without harming her own health. She goes into more detail than Lori about the mess and the clearing strategy she used. Izabelle was less socially isolated than Lori appeared to be in clearing clutter, and her friends and neighbors supported and helped her. Lori and her brother seemed to do most of the work in helping their mother themselves. 

Izabelle goes into much more detail on the thinking process of a hoarder. A hoarder's perception of value is different than that of someone who is just messy and accumulates more clutter than neater people do. Because Izabelle understands the process, she realizes she won't be able to change her father. Since he seems to be able to function in the mess, once he heals, she leaves him be and resigns herself to the condition of the house going back to what it was. 

Although Izabelle doesn't analyze her father's mental conditions as much as Lori does her mother's, she does mention the ways that her father still treats her like a child. She goes into detail about his selective hearing and not caring about what she and her children have to say to him about everyday things unrelated to the hoarding. She feels dismissed because she is female. She gives examples of conversations that make her point. She doesn't label this as emotional abuse, but Lori probably would have. 

Isabelle's story is primarily about dealing with "The Mountain" and her relationship with her father in that context. While clearing she also unearths her mother's diaries that reveal the effect the hoarding had on her mother's mental health. 

Izabelle seems to have a better relationship with her father than Lori did with her mother, in spite of the past and continuing problems caused by the hoarding that affected her life. Example: Izabelle visits her father and brother often, but she doesn't visit with them in the house because she can't breathe inside the house. I don't know whether her visiting is also primarily because of her brother. She did want her children to have a relationship with their only living grandparent. 

Note: One thing that took some getting used to while reading this were all the uniquely British terms Izabelle used that aren't in American English. Izabelle lives in Wales. 

Unique Content in The Hoarder's Daughter by Lori Moore

Unless Izabelle left out some of the worst details in the hoarding, it would appear that Lori's mother's hoarding was more unsanitary than that of Izabelle's father. Perhaps that is because Ant, an adult child, still lived with him to see that it didn't get to the place where feces -- both human and cat -- were scattered around. Louise's house didn't deteriorate that much until Lori and her brother had moved out and she lived in the house alone. 

Lori shares, as noted above, many of the facts and symptoms of the disorders that turn someone into a hoarder. She points out that secrecy is a factor in both emotional abuse and hoarding. In her research she discovered that hoarding is a distinct genetic subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The best chance for changing the hoarding behavior appears to be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the hoarder's home. A hoarder needs a lot of help in developing new habits. You can see this process in the videos I shared above. 

Both Lori and Isabella struggled with their duty to their hoarding parents. Lori shares Billy Graham's suggestions for how to honor a parent engaged in such behavior without enabling the behavior itself. Lori alone provides a list of helpful resources and things to read for those who want to dig deeper. 

More Resources

Here are some additional resources if you want to get more information not included in these memoirs. Amazon Prime has several videos on hoarding and helping hoarders. Click here to see the list.  At least some are free for Prime members to watch. 

The product page for the book below has an informative series of clutter rating images by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee, experts in dealing with hoarding. These images can serve as a guide in identifying the difference between normal clutter and a hoarding disorder. 

The books below are aimed at those who fear they may be headed toward hoarding and want to deal with it now, those who want to help a loved one with a clutter problem, and those who want to understand and help those close to them they suspect may have a hoarding problem. The two memoirs I've reviewed here are also included for convenience.



Whether you have a tendency toward hoarding, want to help someone with a severe hoarding problem, or just want a better understanding of hoarding, I hope this post has helped you. If it has, please share it. People who hoard tend to keep it secret. You never know whom you may be helping by giving them this information.


Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews

The image above is credited as follows: By TheDoctorMo [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons, modified





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Dear Mad'm by Stella Patterson: A Book Review

Dear Mad'm Decides to Move to the Wilderness


Dear Mad'm is the name by which many readers know Stella Walthall Patterson who wrote a memoir with that title.  She did something I'd be afraid to do. Her Arcata friends and family were ready to retire her to a rocking chair and wait on her when she  turned eighty. But a doctor had told her she had "young legs." She wanted to see how far they could still take her. She preferred a life of adventure to a life of ease.

Dear Mad'm by Stella Patterson: A Book Review
Photo by get directly down, Flickr, modified. CC 2.0


By the time she was eighty, Stella Walthall Patterson had lived a full life. Born in Stockton California on October 14, 1866, and orphaned at seven, by the age of sixteen she had graduated from Mills Seminary (later Mills College). She had published her first story in the Oakland Tribune when she was only fourteen. Later she studied in Paris and became proficient in art and music.

Her first husband was Judge Augustus Belcher. She lived with him in San Francisco, socializing with other writers, including Jack London and Ambrose Bierce. The 1906 earthquake and the fire that followed prompted her to leave that area. She had lost everything.

Judge Belcher liked to hunt in the Trinity mountains, and he sometimes hired James Patterson, a rancher in Willow Creek, to act as his guide. Thus, he had occasion to meet Stella.  In 1907, Stella surprised all her friends by marrying Jim Patterson and moving to his Hawkins Bar Ranch in Willow Creek. During the years in Willow Creek, the couple adopted two children -- Ralph and Thelma.

By the time Stella was eighty, she was separated, but not divorced, from Jim Patterson. At the time this book begins, Stella was living in San Francisco again. Not long before her eightieth birthday, while visiting with friends based in Arcata, she injured her leg. After her X-rays in the hospital, the Sister in charge told her she had "young legs."

 She had lived an active and busy life. She had traveled to Europe and mingled with the cultured people of San Francisco. After marrying Patterson she was a rancher's wife, and the couple also had some contact with miners.

The day before her eightieth birthday, as she sat at her friend's house recuperating with her leg propped up, she still felt young. She didn't want to stick around, "waiting to be carried out feet first" when she could still be enjoying new adventures. She wanted freedom to do as she pleased.

 She decided to go live in an old mining cabin she had bought two years earlier as part of a placer mining claim. It had no modern conveniences. She imagined that in the wilderness of the Siskiyou Mountains overlooking the Klamath river she would have solitude and the space to live as she pleased with no human interference. She decided to go for it. She packed her bags, took leave of her friends, and took a bus to Willow Creek. From there she planned to take a mail stage to her cabin. It was 1946. She had promised herself to stay there a year.


Getting to the Wilderness Cabin


The mail stage driver Tom left Stella and all she'd brought with her at the foot of the fifty-foot trail that led UP to her cabin. Evening was rapidly falling. She was exhausted. She pondered the mound of luggage and boxes that somehow had to get up the steep trail to her cabin. She writes:

I had been feeling young and gay all day. Now I felt as old as Methuselah. There was work ahead and no one but me to do it. 

She lugged her belongings up to the edge of her property. Her mind was filled with doubt. She asked herself what she was doing "sitting on a box in the Klamath National Forest far from electric lights, plumbing, inner-spring mattresses" and everything else she had in San Francisco. She contemplated how she would get her things up the trail and into the cabin. She decided to take only what  she needed for the night in one load and come for the rest in the morning. Once inside she took a jar to fill outside at her water barrel. She could feel the scary darkness all around. She recalls:

The feeling of being alone on that vast mountainside, no neighbor within hailing distance, was working on my nerves. I might scream, yell, shout. None to hear. Just an echo from the bluffs cross the river to answer me. 

After taking every safety precaution she could think of, including putting a chair against the door and loading it with pots and pans that would clatter if moved, she crawled into her bed and fell asleep.

Dear Mad'm by Stella Patterson: A Book Review
Klamath River Photo courtesy of Tony Webster on Flickr, CC 2.0 License


Meeting the Neighbors


Life in the primitive cabin (actually a shack) did not quite offer the solitude Stella hoped for. First, she did have neighbors closer than she thought They were the "boys" she had hired to take care of her mine assessment work. She called them Dearsir and Up'nUp. You'll need to read the book to find out why. They just called her Dear Mad'm. The names stuck.

Very early that first morning she heard a knock on the door. She was still barefooted with her hair down. The door opened and Dearsir announced he and his partner had brought her luggage up to the cabin. She learned they had moved about half a mile up the mountain to Bent Pine Cabin. She offered them coffee and then realized that wasn't enough. She didn't have much, but she fed them bread, butter, and all her strawberry jam with it. She did manage to grab one slice herself. The men invited her to come along with them to shop at the grocery in Happy Camp in a couple of days.

Another neighbor was the eccentric Frenchy. He roamed the trails with a book in one hand an a bulb of garlic in the other. He always offered a helping hand when needed.

One day sixteen-year-old Milly came to call from across the river. She wanted to be very proper, but she was very lonely. Once Stella discovered her stilted Victorian speech came from Emily Post, she encouraged her to just be herself. They became great friends.

Occasionally Up'nUp's wife Nora, who lived in Yreka, came to visit and stayed with her.

Later Stella would meet the men's chickens, goats, and English shepherd dog Vicki. She would also meet their mule Pete "the friendliest mule" DearSir ever met. That had not been Stella's first impression.

But Stella's most dangerous neighbors were  her wild ones -- a cougar and a rattlesnake. By the time she met them "the boys" had given her their dog Vicki to be her companion and protector. She turned out to be both.


Peace and Adventure

Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr, modified. CC 2.0

One of Stella's first projects was to plant a flower garden. She didn't think she'd be successful with vegetables, but she had always wanted a flower garden. In fact, when she had shopped for her trip she had bought more seeds and bulbs than food. Although the gardening work was difficult, it motivated her, as it does every gardener, to envision the blooming color her labor would bring forth in a few weeks or months.

At the end of the first full day in the cabin she had her first adventure. She came face to face with an escaped billy goat at her door. But the "boys," to whom the goats belonged, quickly caught up with them, took them away, and promised to bring her goat milk in the morning. She didn't like goat milk. Of course, she'd never tried it.

She then puzzled over a way to deal with the rats who lived just between her ceiling and her roof. Her method met with less than success until Frenchy came up with an answer a bit later.

It wasn't long before Stella finally met Pete. Their relationship got off to a rather bad start. It's quite a humorous scene, but you'll have to read it to fully appreciate it. For now we'll just say that first encounter almost made enemies of them forever. That animosity didn't help much when she later had to help trim his hooves.

Dear Mad'm by Stella Patterson: A Book Review
Mule, courtesy of  Pixabay


One day the "boys" came by in the morning to tell Dear Mad'm they were leaving on a trip to Arcada and leaving Vicki with her for protection and company. Vicki was a permanent gift even though the men would return in a few days. She turned out to be a very valuable gift.

That night there was a terrible thunderstorm. Both Stella and Vicki were frightened to death of the storm that might fell the tree above the cabin. Vicki hid under the bed. Somehow, though, they got through the storm without damage and no trees crashed down on them.

Dear Mad'm had another adventure when the men took her to see her claim. It was up a very steep trail -- too steep for her to climb -- so they dangled her on a rope between them. They let her walk back down with an occasional lift where needed.

She did have a few quiet days of birdwatching and relaxing, but one day while she was in her garden with her nose to the ground she heard heard the whirring sound of a rattlesnake. Vicki sounded an alarm, and I'll let you read the book to see how it ended. Their encounter with the cougar that had been raiding the men's goats was also very tense. The men couldn't believe how she'd solved that problem.

But something even topped that. A storm came up when the group of friends were on the way back from Happy Camp one night. It sent rocks crashing down on the narrow mountain road as Dearsir drove the jalopy around the curves. You'll be on the edge of your seat reading that chapter.

Not long after that night Up'nUp's very pregnant wife Nora came to visit two weeks before her due date and stayed a bit too long. Never a dull moment!

You can purchase Dear Mad'm here. 

Never Too Old to Be Needed


As you can see, Stella's expected year of solitude didn't go quite as planned. But she certainly did have adventures on those "young legs" of hers. Near the end of the year in her cabin she had committed herself to, there were many changes in their mountain "neighborhood." Stella had just about decided those changes would make her continued presence unnecessary because no one would need her there anymore. But another big event persuaded her to stay several more years. The book explains what happened to change her mind.

Dear Mad'm moved to a travel trailer in Redding, California, in autumn, 1955, near Thelma, and died on December 23, at the age of 89. She is buried in Redding. She died just before her book was published, so she never got to see it. Stella Patterson's writing sparkles. Her book is also sprinkled with delightful and comical line drawings by Alice Harvey, who was an illustrator and cartoonist for the New Yorker. 

In the years since her death Dear Mad'm has had so many fans wanting to know what happened to her after her book ended that one of her relatives wrote a sequel to try to answer the questions. That book is Dear Mad'm: Who Was She? I'm hoping to read it soon. I just discovered it.

If you are interested in active aging, nature, animals, wilderness living, placer mining, or neighbors bonding and helping each other like family, don't miss this book. It will make you laugh and it will give you moments of heart-stopping suspense. It will show you you're never too old to have adventures when you're young at heart. 




The biographical information that was not in the book came from these sources:

Related Book Reviews You May Enjoy

  • Could You Survive Emigrating to An Untamed Land? A Book Review : This historical Christian novel follows two Norwegian brothers who emigrated from Norway to America with their wives and children in 1880. They wanted to homestead in the Dakota territory
  • Driving Miss Norma Book Review: When faced with months of draining medical procedures for treatment of what is expected to be terminal uterine cancer, Miss Norma chooses not to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemo. She decides to live out her life outside the confines of a hospital and accepts an invitation from her son Tim and his wife to take to the road with them in their RV. It is this coming together that will completely transform all of their lives.
  • Can't Wait to Get to Heaven Book Review: The whole Can't Wait to Get to Heaven adventure started when the elderly widow Elner had just wanted pick a few figs to make some preserves "for that nice woman who had brought her a basket of tomatoes." She didn't know about the wasp nest in the fig tree and the adventures that would follow in her brief trip to Heaven. 









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Monday, May 7, 2018

Michael Crichton's TRAVELS, A Book Review (1988)

Michael Crichton's TRAVELS Book ReviewI have just returned from a trip around the world. A few of the more exotic countries that I visited were Thailand, Maylaysia, Bonaire, Ireland, England, Tanzania, Jamaica, New Guinea and Pakistan. On these travels, I climbed mountains, swam in the seas and slept with fleas. I mingled with elephants, felt the breath of gorillas on my face and swam among the sharks. I travelled off the beaten path and in some very rough conditions.

This trip was another armchair travels trip that I took via Michael Crichton's nonfiction book, Travels. It was a book club book that I recommended to the group. Fortunately, most of the group enjoyed the book more than I did.

I did enjoy parts of the book though I expected something different than I received from within the pages of the covers. It turned out that the title Travels was a little more general than I took it to be. It was meant to encompass Crichton's life adventures, which included literal travel but also spiritual adventures and medical training.

eNotes.com called Travels a "patchwork of pieces salvaged from a writer’s bottom drawer" and that is certainly how I felt about the book and why I was not keen on it. It does a good job of sharing Crichton's experiences individually but I would have appreciated it more if it had flowed as a single story rather than a series of short stories. In terms of writings, I suppose one might consider it a journal or diary of sorts.

On Crichton's website, it says that the book started as a series of travel pieces though he never intended to write about his travels thinking of them as just "something he did for himself that wasn’t work-related and wasn’t supposed to amount to anything." I understand how an author would not always want to chronicle everything in his life. Anyway, when Crichton discovered that some of his most important experiences happened on his trips this book was born and, when the book became autobiographical, he added the medical stories.

I am sure you have heard of Michael Crichton. He was a very successful novelist, screenwriter and film director. It is interesting that he wrote and sold books while he was studying to become a medical doctor though perhaps odd that he made it through the entire training program before he decided he did not actually want to be a doctor. In his 66 years, he wrote eleven books and more than 200 million copies of them have been sold in the science fiction, thriller and medical genres. In 1994, he had an unbelievable trifecta that included a number one movie, a book and a television show. Namely, Jurassic Park, Disclosure and ER. I am sure you will have heard of a couple of those, too.

Do I recommend Travels?

I guess so, reservedly. I would not recommend this book to someone looking for a page turner or an engaging novel. This book is as I have said before, a group of stories.

If you like to travel, you might enjoy the unusual destinations in this book whether or not you would choose them yourself. If you do not travel, you might enjoy visiting these places via the pages of a book.

Whether or not you believe in psychic phenomenons like aura reading, spoon bending, out-of-body trips and exorcism, you might enjoy learning about them and the various experiences Crichton had in the metaphysical world.

If you are interested in the human body or in being a medical doctor, you might appreciate the first chapters more than I did. If you red the book, you will discover how medical students are assigned cadavers and what follows.

But do not let my lukewarm recommendation be the deciding factor about whether or not you read this book for I have read many reviews by people who really enjoyed it and the majority of my book club members found Crichton's adventures interesting.

Reviewer Patricia Bosworth said in a 1988 New York Times book review, "I was ultimately swept away (by this book), not just by Crichton's richly informed mind, but his driving curiosity. Satisfying your curiosity takes guts."

Shangri-La anyone? The Shangri-La Michael Crichton visited is not the one you might have in your mind's eye. I thought of Shangri-La as an earthly paradise of sorts. Apparently the version I was picturing comes from a 1933 book called Lost Horizon. The real Shangri-La, as experienced in Travels, is quite different from that pleasant image in my mind and a good example of the unusual destinations in this book.

You can learn more about Michael Crichton's Travels on Amazon by clicking right here. If you do read the book, be sure to come back and let us know what you think of it. You might also let us know what your perception of Shangri-La was before you read this post.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Travels from amazon.
More armchair travel book reviews.
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