Review: With terrific photos of the beauty of landscape and individual and group determination to succeed in their goals, “Be Brave, Be Strong” is a moving work of one women’s tremendous journey to complete a dream after heartbreak. Although a memoir of sorts and a detailing of her experiences, I appreciated the flowing style that reminded me of the storytelling tradition of my people, not just someone telling their story. We’re given fascinating views into the internal struggle and psychological influences that allow some people to push their mind and body to the edge and actually achieve heightened awareness and ability that forever creates in them a craving to experience it again and again.
I especially enjoy biographic books on adventure and exploration, so this was a special treat for me, especially in that the author’s skill makes you feel like you’re there in the moment. Even if you are not actually participating then at least you’re watching and cheering them on. Vivid images of the people and situations encountered are both profound and simple, just like life’s own mysteries and realities. Courageous and astonishing, I believe this is one of the best personal testaments of its kind that I’ve read.
Description: Jill Homer, a newspaper editor from Alaska, has an outlandish ambition: Racing a mountain bike 2,740 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide. But in the tradition of best-laid plans, Jill’s dream starts to unravel the minute she sets it in motion. An accident on the Iditarod Trail results in serious frostbite. She struggles with painful recovery and growing uncertainties. Then, just two days before their departure, her boyfriend ends their eight-year relationship, dismantling everything Jill thought she knew about life, love and her own identity.
“Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide” is an adventure driven relentlessly forward as foundations crumble. During her record-breaking ride in the 2009 Tour Divide, Jill battles a torrent of anger, self-doubt, fatigue, loneliness, pain, grief, bicycle failures, crashes and violent storms. Each night, she collapses under the crushing effort of this savage new way of life. And every morning, she picks up the pieces and strikes out to find what lies on the other side of the Divide: Astonishing beauty, unconditional kindness, and boundless strength.