Thursday, December 31, 2015

Would you travel with no baggage?

I have previously mentioned that every now and again I need a genre cleanse. I started reading way too many fantasy novels, and my head looses itself in the clouds. The whole world gets an aura of the unreal. So, I need a good grounding novel. I was searching through the ARC stack that had just come in to work. The title was intriguing; the cover was eye-catching; and the description seemed like a definite fit for my grounding experience. That is how I picked up No Baggage and definitely brought my head back to the Earth.

I hope everyone has a safe New Year's Eve and the best of wishes for 2016.


No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Benson

This year has been a year; let me tell you. I have had some very strong highs and some incredibly low lows. I have had an existential crisis. What is the entire meaning of my life? Am I really doing what I want with it? The questions that we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives. Hopefully most of you have answered those questions with less destruction than I have. I think that is a large reason why this book resonated on a high level with me.

Clara Benson comes to many of the same conclusions in life that I have. Except she had the bravery to take her leap of faith in life from a much higher diving platform. I went small. She went huge by walking onto an airplane with a man she had known for less than a month--with nothing but a purse. Inspiring.

I can see where some reviews will argue against this book. It has the kind of material that are going to make people love it or hate it. This is NOT a travel story. This is a mental health story where traveling with no baggage and falling in love play major roles in the author's development. There is no preaching, but we are also experiencing a very personal story with open observations about why something was something to Clara. All items that could impact a reader negatively if they go into this book with the wrong mindset. Read this book from the beginning from the right starting point. You will connect with it.

I give it 4 stars because it is incredibly well written, moves along quickly, is witty, and makes my heart constrict by the end. It also resonated with me and my year personally. I have read a lot this year (my husband would even say too much. And I am possibly inclined to believe him). Many of those books have now fallen into a vague, hazy book graveyard of story plots I don't quite remember. When recommending books, I notice a certain set cropping up every time, no matter the reader. This is one of the ones I remember--vividly.

This is one of the books that will be on my mind for awhile and has me itching to go on my own no baggage trip. So here is to 2015. I say good riddance and don't follow up. Hello, 2016. You look so beautiful. I am going to be grateful for you and appreciate you daily.