Saturday, May 12, 2012

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven  By Susan Gilman   Susie and Claire have just graduated from Brown University. Filled with young ambition, wonderment and an all knowing Ivy League education, they decide over some pancakes at IHOP to circumnavigate the globe. They begin their journey flying to Hong Kong and make their way to The People's Republic of China. It is 1986, tourism in China is extremely limited and monitored and Claire and Susie wonder every day if they have made the right decision or a big mistake. The backpacker mantra seems to be the dirtier, hungrier and more you "rough it" the truer the nature of the journey. Both girls experience severe stomach illness, homesickness and general malaise. Unfortunately Claires' symptoms seem to get worse instead of better. She begins to isolate herself, show signs of paranoia and completely shut herself off from Susie. Susie has to take control of this adventure and guide them both to safety. This memoir is well written, witty and interesting. I highly recommend this read to all of those who have traveled or ever dreamed of doing so.

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