BookReview: Books to bring you into fall

Kimberly DUNBAR


If you’re a fan of survival shows like Discovery’s Naked and Afraid, then you’ll enjoy South Dartmouth resident Holly FitzGerald’s new memoir, Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios (Vintage Departures).

In 1973, Holly and her husband, Fitz, embarked on their belated honeymoon: a year-long backpacking adventure across the world. Everything was perfect until their plane crashed in Peru five months into the trip. Though they survived unscathed, it put them behind their planned travel schedule. In an attempt to get their adventure back on course, Holly and Fitz built a raft to float down the Amazon through Peru and Bolivia. They were on track to make it to their destination in Brazil in the estimated three days when a storm knocked them into a dead-end channel off of the main river, an area filled with caiman and piranha. To make matters worse, the storm robbed Holly and Fitz of their supplies, leaving them lost, hungry and unable to battle the current or find a way out. Unlike modern survival shows, Holly and Fitz had no camera crews or options to “tap out” when things got dangerous. FitzGerald’s real-life tale of survival is one you won’t want to put down.

Not all tough situations end happily. In What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen (Little, Brown and Company), ESPN commentator and journalist Kate Fagan tells the heartbreaking story of Madison Holleran, a University of Pennsylvania student who took her own life after struggling with anxiety and depression. On the outside, the 19-year-old New Jersey native seemed to have it all: looks, personality, perfect grades and a promising collegiate running career. But on the inside, Madison struggled with achieving perfection and meeting expectations while adjusting to her first year of college, in which both academics and track proved more difficult than she had anticipated. Madison’s death left her loved ones shattered and with questions, which Fagan attempts to answer. She uses Madison’s texts, emails and social media posts to reconstruct the months leading up to her death. The book is an eye-opening examination of the pressures young people face today and the lack of resources available on college campuses to help students deal with mental health struggles. A must-read for students, parents and college officials everywhere.

On a lighter note (but heavy on calories), author George Geary has released Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State & Country Fairs (Santa Monica Press), a book chock full of recipes that help you recreate your favorite fair foods. Chapters include drinks, sweet and savory snacks, desserts, main courses and one called “Fried Everything,” in which Geary covers the gamut, from lemonade, egg creams and milkshakes to fried Twinkies, fried Coca-Cola and fried butter (?!). The best news: no big deep fryer needed – Geary provides directions on how a stock pot and some (or a lot) of oil can get the job done.

Comments are closed.