It's been a while since I've been on the blog. With the Christmas season finished (and my subsequent recovery), I am once again back and ready to delve deeply into books and the book world.
The other evening, myself and a few other Salt Lake City booksellers had the opportunity to meet Robyn Scott, author of the forthcoming book "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of An African Childhood." She is a charming, gracious, beautiful young woman whose book I had read previous to our meeting. I could easily see the personality that shone brightly throughout the memoir was the same that was sitting across from me at the table. There was no falseness or pretense about her. I was smitten- having met Robyn in person simply confirmed everything I had enjoyed while reading her book.
"Twenty Chickens for a Saddle" is not so much Robyn's story as it is the story of her entire family; her siblings, parents and grandparents, and the years they spent living in Africa. Her parents are somewhat eccentric in the approach they take to everything, including the children's education. Robyn and her brother and sister were home schooled by their mother; Robyn until she was fourteen. Self-discovery and exploration were more valued than tests, homework, and learning for the sake of social acceptance.
The book is filled with stories that explore the cultures of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, of humor (some of which left me laughing out loud while riding public transit), touching moments with both people and animals, of frustration with the left-over threads of apartheid still highly apparent near the South African border, and the tragedy of a nation struggling to cope with the AIDS epidemic. The cast of characters (and some are REAL characters) is an amazing group of people like none you have ever seen or met. Robyn has taken all these elements, and more, and woven a wonderful tapestry that takes us, heart and soul, into a land and family not our own.
I must admit, after reading the book and meeting Robyn, who is twenty-seven years old, I had to wonder- at thirty-eight, what have I done with my life? The answer: Not as much as I could, but I have been inspired to remember the quote, "It's never too late to be what you might have been."
"Twenty Chickens for a Saddle" will be available in stores March 27, 2008. Even if memoirs are not what you normally read, I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. Seeing how this wonderfully eccentric family lived, learned, loved and cared is an inspiration to all.
To learn more about "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle" visit Robyn Scott's website- www.twentychickensforasaddle.com