Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Nothing to Declare, Mary Morris, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988, 250 pp

Sometime in the early 80s, author Mary Morris took off to Mexico to travel alone. She had had her heart and spirit broken by a man and as she says on page 4, "With a terrible feeling of isolation and a growing belief that America had become a foreign land, I headed south." But the reader learns later on in this astonishing travel memoir, that Mary Morris has had an urge for going since a bald eagle landed in her Chicago suburban backyard when she was a girl.

Morris is given to dreams, beliefs in totems and angels, depression and deep conflicts about men. She is a wonderful writer, honest about how broken she feels but not maudlin. As she describes long bus trips, food, accommodations, poverty and other Americans, you are there. As she take ridiculous risks to her safety, you want to slap her upside the head. And as she heads home with nothing really resolved, you wish her well. This is Eat Pray Love on a much more jagged edge and a much more honest level.

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