cover image Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine

Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine

Holly Morris, . . Villard, $23.95 (283pp) ISBN 978-0-375-50827-1

Morris, in partnership with her mother, produced a PBS documentary series meant to empower women by traveling to exotic locales and seeking out "divas": women creating positive change in their societies through passionate and often convention-defying actions. Among her subjects: the first female beat cop in India, who later reformed the prison system; an Iranian publisher of a feminist magazine fighting strict censorship laws; and a pop star who rocked New Zealand's cultural divides. With these women as the focus, Morris and her crew provide novel and extensive explorations of different cultures. Despite the author's objective to avoid reinforcing stereotypes, she does occasionally stumble on her own biases. For instance, her aversion to organized religion clearly colors her translation of cultures heavy with holy history. Morris's writing is clean, rhythmic and full of both storytelling flair and journalistic pragmatism. The story of the spunky project itself, from the obstacles overcome while producing an independent documentary series to Morris's adventures along the way (she takes on a side job hosting another travel show, eats with Malaysian headhunters, climbs Switzerland's Matterhorn and rides through the Sahara Desert on camelback), is as inspiring as the divas themselves. B&w photos, illus. Agent, Leigh Feldman . (On sale Oct. 4)