A long time ago, my Minneapolis Book Club read Beryl Markham’s book about her solo crossing of the Atlantic in “West With the Night.” We developed a fascination with Africa, one of our members had honeymooned in Kenya, another had traveled to Uganda and “Out of Africa” had just come out and won a bunch of awards.
I was young – in my late 20’s, I felt myself adventurous and wanted to travel.
Fast forward to 30 years later when my Bloomington Book Club decides to read “Circling the Sun” another book written about the daring and beautiful Beryl Markham. I was intrigued once again and dove headfirst into this novel expecting to learn more about Beryl’s famous East to West trip from Kenya to North America. I was surprised to find that this book was 95% about her life leading up to the trip and only 5% about the trip that made her famous.
At first I felt like I had been conned – Come ON! Who cares how many husbands she had? (She had three). Who cares that her father sold the farm when she was young and felt forced to marry? (At the age of 16). But then I realized if I wanted to read about her solo flight who could have written it better then BERYL MARKHAM? And she already wrote that book!
So BRAVO to Paula McLain for giving us the background about a very interesting and pioneering woman who helped change how society views women.
Now, about that trip to Africa… my young self never made that trip so maybe NOW is the time to do it. After all, I am young – in my early 50’s, I feel adventurous. I want to travel….