Tracks by Robyn Davidson – Book Review

I must say before I start this review that I saw the movie before I read the book; and unfortunately, I had never heard of Robyn Davidson. This is incredible to me, since I would read National Geographic from cover to cover at the time (1977) when she was making her journey across the Australian Outback. Apparently I either missed the story, or it resides totally forgotten somewhere in the cobwebs of my brain.

I loved this book. Davidson decided, for no reason that we are told, to walk across the desert with three camels. Just to see if she could do it. Since she had no money, she knew that she’d have to learn how to train and control camels herself. So, she headed off to Alice Springs to learn about training and leading camels. This was no easy task, and almost two years went by before she was able to begin her trip.

Due to money issues, Davidson had to sell her story to National Geographic, and then she had to “put up” with the photographer assigned to her story. This she felt was changing the purity of her vision, but like all of us, she had to live in the real world. If she hadn’t taken the money, the trip would never have happened.

I really enjoyed the way that she wrote the book. Her observations about herself – she had the ability to see herself for what she was, which is always a refreshing thing. The book is a reflection of her, as she was, warts and all. While I had a problem with some of the things that she does (camel hitting), I enjoyed the book immensely. I found it to be an uplifting read. Here was a woman who overcame the odds and finished the trip that she set out to do. I highly recommend it.

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