4 out of 4 stars
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Not all nonfiction books are capable of binding your interest so much that you wish to continue reading more and more. the altitude journalsis one such book wherein David Mauro has put in his personal life experiences, physical as well as emotional, throughout his journey of conquering the seven summits.
Look at the irony of life, his journey towards climbing the highest mountains of North America is about to begin when his life is at its lowest.He is facing the bitter process of divorce when he gets an invitation from his brother in law to join his team in climbing the Mt Denali.He accepts the invitation and goes ahead with the preparation and training, only to realise later what he had gotten into.Of course,he was fully prepared for the difficult climb, but didn't know that for a simple luxury like calling up family via sat phone,he would have to trade a roll of toilet paper.Having nothing much to lose back home,he manages to ascend still further with the help of his team, but at a point wants to call it off thinking he has hit Cheyne Stokes'breathing and won't be able to make it, but it so turns out that he needed to be only more hydrated.
Along with the climb, his thoughts are traveling too, and it dawns over him that when left alone in a desert, a man can know more of only himself, rather than knowing only God.He learns he was called to climb the mountains, not only to fight against all odds, but also to be able to conquer the personal demons within which were disrupting his life.
After his success at the Denali summit,he gathers courage to find happiness for himself and starts the hunt for his soulmate.He soon finds Lin,who believes in the basic goodness of people, karma and the value of silliness.
Very soon he starts getting a dream of a massive lion, which seems to beckon him in the direction of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest summit of Africa.This time around, during the adventure,he wants to share his experiences via satellite.He also realises his fear of being hurt again had led him to the top of Africa, his fear having begun after Lin had confessed her love for him.During the ascent,he figures relationships are a lot like natural world, where beauty in its highest form, love, could only be known when taking great personal risk,in becoming vulnerable,in shedding your armour of self protection and facing the consequences.
With every call to the various summits,he is growing tall as a man, shedding inhibitions, loving openly, closing in the distance between his family relationships, reaching out to the society, raising funds for the uplift of the kids of his town, and moreover, to balance the stress of so much happening, joining a comedy improv club.Above all, the author has written all the accounts, adventure as well as psychological,in such vivid detail that I felt I traveled along with him his entire journey. I got so absorbed into the narrative that I gasped and missed a heart beat whenever he faltered during a difficult climb. I smiled whenever there was a humour moment. I take interest in reading real life stories, so I enjoyed the book thoroughly and I am certain anyone who reads this will. I found nothing amiss in it and I give it four out of four starsIt contains the thriller,suspense,comedy, fiction factors,all in one, so it need not be limited to one genre.
The Altitude Journals
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