Most helpful critical review
Rich in Religious Thoughts
on 19 January 2015
The book started with such promise, meeting Al in Siberia, and the nothing less than heroic journey through the hideous conditions in that part of the world. Al solving most of the problems that they encountered, Al's strengths making up for the author's weaknesses, to ensure their survival. It amazes me that people with little in the way of self reliance take on adventures like this, and most of them seem to be school teachers!
I should have read the book information though, as when the word spiritual was mentioned I probably wouldn't have bothered to order the book. Once Al leaves the talk of religion becomes more and more. I kept wading through the book for the good bits, and I was determined not to give up, but at page 274 of 348 I finally gave up the will to continue. It was a theological conversation between a christian and a muslim that finally made me realise the book was not for me. It boiled down to whose god was the biggest or best.
If you are not of a religious persuasion like me, you might be able to get through the book if you can accept that when someone prays to a deity and a good thing happened, it happened due to the deity, but when the bad things happened that was nothing to do with a deity.
There were many good parts to the book and the adventure was without doubt tough in places. The romantic parts were a joy to read as were the parts with the French Canadian couple. I am never quite sure about taking food from some of the poorest people though to subsidise your leisure journey though. To moan when someone wants your jacket is a bit off considering the handouts you got on the way around!