Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Non-Biker Book Review

So I finished Ghost Trails: Journey's through a lifetime. Which happens to be my big sisters book (So I am not biased AT ALL!). And I decided to do my first book review ever. So bear with me.

The best way for me to sum up the book is my sister's epic journey through the Iditarod Trail which is a 350 mile race in the remote Alaska wilderness (think no people, no resources, wild animals, and -60 degree wind chill factor in otherwise -25 degree weather). The story is peppered between each chapter with an experience in her life that lead up to her deciding, enduring, and completing this race.

My sister has never been one to be very open about her thoughts and feelings. When she was a teenager, it was easy to talk to her about school, teachers, and friends. But when it came to her feelings, it was always a private matter that we rarely discussed. We didn't even know she was dating her current boyfriend Geoff until they did their cross country bicycle tour (nearly two and a half years after they started "dating"), although we had a pretty good idea that they were! As she got older, I noticed she started to open up little by little. When she started her blog I really felt like I was really getting to know her better by reading her thoughts and experiences. When we went on vacation this summer she was very open to us about her thoughts, her feelings, and her relationship.

This book was a window into her deepest thoughts and feelings about the struggles and triumphs she faced during her Iditarod Ultrasport Race. Being able to share this with the world is a grand step for her (in my opinion). It was interesting to be in her life during all of her past life experiences, but not knowing her thoughts and feelings. I remember Becky, and Spencer (vaguely), I remember dropping her off at the airport on Christmas Day when she went to New York and really got to know Geoff, I remember when she drove across the country in her car, when she drove up through Alaska the first time, and when she went on her bicycle tour across the country with Geoff. I remember all these things happening in her life without knowing her feelings. Now I do. I feel like I am really getting to know her better than I ever have.

It seriously is the best book! I laughed (Hippie Lady!) I cried (Mount Borah, ID and when she realized Geoff was no longer in the race) and I never felt more proud and amazed. Even though I am not a cyclist or an endurance racer, I think everyone can relate to this book in one way or another. It explains how she faced her fears, fought loneliness, felt despair, survived (in the most horrendous elements), and found joy. In a way, we all experience this with the trials we face. Everyone has their own struggles and suffering. When all hope seems to be lost and you sit there 5 miles from your destination, unable to even move, somehow we all can muster up enough strength to move on. We all have our "freak out" moments where we cry and scream and curse, but we are able to somehow move on. It demonstrates how we all have the power to rise above when it seems like you no longer can. And in the end, even though that struggle was pure misery, you are grateful that you had it. The lessons you learned and the triumph you feel by being able to overcome, to survive, even when it seems that all hope is lost, is very satisfying.

Even though I think she is a little crazy for putting herself through those conditions when she could be sitting at home stalking other blogs, I now have a greater appreciation and respect for the love that she has for her bicycling, as well as her boyfriend Geoff. Thank you Jill! I am so glad I had the opportunity to have a window into your world, and I couldn't be more proud of you!


KiMnRoB said...

Wow, what a HUGE accomplishment! Congratulations Jill! Not only on writing and publishing a book but that race seems like torture!
Best wishes in all your success!
And you are such a sweet sister Lisa. I love how you talk about her!

Kristina P. said...

Your sister is amazing! I need to buy her book.

TJ said...

Definately on my must read list. What an incredible experience, for her to have and write about, but also for you to read.

Amander said...

What a cool way to get to know your sister better!

the letter Bee said...

Wow!!! That looks amazing! Good for her!

Anonymous said...

Our sister is amazing! I believe this is tribute number 2 for Jill, Sara 0. Oh well, I see who is the favored sister. JK. Love you Lis,
xoxo Sara