cover image It's Only the Himalayas

It's Only the Himalayas

S. Bedford. Brindle & Glass (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist.; Heritage Group, UTP, Canadian dist.), $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-927366-47-9

In a hilarious travelogue for a social media generation%E2%80%94with "Just think of the Facebook status!" inspiring some daring adventures%E2%80%94Bedford, a 20-something waitress from Toronto, starts her story out slowly, building drama and suspense until she reaches the wild, drunken climax in Southeast Asia. Readers accompany her on a yearlong trek with her best friend, Sara, on African safaris, into reality-shaking India, and to the Himalayas (where their fathers join them). The pair make a number of questionable decisions and mistakes during their journey, and Bedford has an admirable ability to deftly make even the grossest moment engrossing, though her narrative might not inspire readers to hit the road: "It wasn't until I was puking my guts out in a teahouse with the architectural stability of a Jenga game that I felt like a true backpacker." The denouement, however, is nonexistent, and after following Bedford and Sara's soul-searching, readers will wonder which directions they take after they return home. At one point, Bedford muses, "Perhaps I was looking for answers in the wrong places," leaving the door open for another journey. If it is anything like this trip, it'll be worth reading too. (Apr.)