Thursday, 30 January 2014

Through Dust and Darkness Review

This is the third motorcycle travel book I’ve read.  Though I’ve only had one short ride on a motorized bike in my life, there’s something about bike books that I find liberating. 

Jeremy Kroeker’s first book, Motorcycle Therapy, was my first bike book.  I read it because he was my husband’s friend in high school.  I thought I’d just read a few chapters, but then I found myself laughing aloud at an airport while I read it.  I finished the book.

Through Dust and Darkness is more of a spiritual journey than Kroeker’s first book.  I was quite intrigued by Kroeker’s reference to his upbringing in reference to his trip through Europe and the Middle East.  Born and raised as a Mennonite in Canada, Kroeker seeks to see God through a different lens.  While I don’t always agree with his conclusions, and really, whom do we ever completely agree with in these matters, I was impressed with his willingness to share his doubts and discoveries with his reader.

As a fiction writer, I am always taken aback by how much nonfiction writers are willing to open themselves up to the world.  I imagine they make some adjustments the truth, but the courage to record my failings for anyone to see is beyond me. 

I was especially touched by Kroeker’s description of his self-loathing in high school, which he describes in Chapter 39.  I would have to agree that the Evangelical church has taught its children many outrageous things in regards to sexuality during my lifetime.  It reaffirmed my commitment to discuss such precious and sacred things with my children: to encourage them rather than frighten them to death, to be approachable when they have questions, and to discuss what they learn in church and at school.

I was also a bit misty over his conclusion where he describes meeting Amanda Lindhout.  Having only met her in crowds where she was speaking and reading her book, I am glad she has friends like Kroeker to help her as she deals with the torture she suffered. 

Having said this, Kroeker offered many funny moments.  Amongst my favourites was his attempt to fix a broken tire pump, his experience in an Iranian toilet and his run-in with an overly generous taxi driver.  Kroeker is a skilled writer and storyteller.  I hope his aging back doesn’t keep him from taking and writing many more adventures.

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