I had to take a little time to let my thoughts marinate after reading A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. It was not a book that had been recommended to me, nor was it sitting on my TBR pile. In fact, it was thanks to the Life’s Library book club, an online community run by YA author John Green and his personal assistant Rosianna Halse Rojas, that I had even heard of this book. I joined this group because I have long wanted to join a bookish group that would broaden my reading horizons. So far I have not been disappointed!
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a series of essays that, in short, explore the concept of being lost – and the beauty in wandering. Below is the summary from the Penguin Random House website:
Written as a series of autobiographical essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Rebecca Solnit’s life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. Solnit is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves, or losing ourselves. While deeply personal, her own stories link up to larger stories, from captivity narratives of early Americans to the use of the color blue in Renaissance painting, not to mention encounters with tortoises, monks, punk rockers, mountains, deserts, and the movie Vertigo. The result is a distinctive, stimulating voyage of discovery.
This was a challenging read for me, but the writing is simply gorgeous!
I admit to having struggled with this book at first. I think that the reason for this difficulty was that I was trying to find “the point” of this book. I discovered that the purpose of A Field Guide to Getting Lost is not to have an answer or a destination. It is an exploration of how our life’s wanderings and experiences culminate and make US who we are as individuals.
I would recommend this book to a reader who enjoys quote-worthy literature, wandering, and contemplating the colour blue.