I would really like to enjoy at least 1 book that my book club picks. Even the times I choose the book I tend to hate it. I think it’d be nice not to just complain for an hour. Alas, this was not the month. Let me recap our discussion to choose this book.
Person 1: I’d like to read a happy book – nothing sad please.
Person 2: Can we choose fiction this time?
Person 3: What about this book which is the true story of an old couple who lost everything and became homeless and decided to walk the coastal path in Cornwall?
Me: WTF? Are you people serious?
But I digress. Let’s talk about The Salt Path. I’d say there are spoilers in this review, but as there is no real plot – it’s non-fiction, I don’t think it applies.
This book is the true story of a couple who lost their farm, which was their house and livelihood due to a bad investment with a “friend”, and then went on to try and fight the lawsuit without lawyers and supposedly lost everything because they didn’t file evidence correctly. One week or so before they start walking the path and wild camping (which is illegal in the UK) the husband gets diagnosed with a degenerative nerve disease. They don’t want to wait for council housing and decide to go walking anyway.
Well, there’s a bit of them being taken advantage of by another friend during the winter and rebuilding a shed for somewhere to stay, and then another bit about them taking advantage of student loans they never thought they could repay in the end.
I think there are 2 sides to this review. First of all, to a certain extent, this book did inspire some reflection and discussion on what it means to be homeless and how we see and treat people we perceive to be so, versus the multitude of reasons that can drive people to homelessness, so I’ll give it props for that.
On the other hand, this book was just boring. It’s 300+ pages of descriptions of camping. Very little happens, and when it does it’s gone by fast and we’re back to the boredom of the camping/hiding/peeing in the woods. I mean, there was a portion when she was describing going by places in which I’ve been and recognize (and I’m a sucker for these things), but even then I couldn’t bring myself to stop skimming because it was so boring.
In the end, I guess I don’t know why she wrote this book. Or better yet, I don’t know why this book needs to exist. There’s no underlying moral, there’s no thesis, she’s not trying to say anything. She’s just chronicling her journey, and to be honest the only reason I can think of why she’d do it is for the money. She had to pay off that student loan somehow, I guess.
Well, I guess I have to be fair, and say one of the people in my book club absolutely loved it. So I guess I’m just not this book’s audience. I’m just a little heartless, and bitter about not DNFing books that aren’t for me.
But I convinced the book club and we’re reading ACE next, so here’s to hoping I’ll enjoy next month’s book.