Wilder Life, A

Louwrens, Joan

  18 Reviews

Widowed when her children were very young, Dr Joan Louwrens decided to pursue 'adventure medicine' which allowed her to work on all seven continents and many of the world's oceans, frequently with her daughters in tow.

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, to every landscape in between, including the Australian outback and the African savannah, this is captivating storytelling combining fascinating medical stories with an exciting travelogue of the remote and inhospitable places of the world.



Easy to read but felt incomplete - not enough detail about the interesting places. Sometimes selfish with her plans, and somewhat repetitive about perceived inadequacies.
AUCK 009
Antarctica Unleashed! Everyone loved this book, particularly Joan's Antarctic adventures, and marvelled at her ability to administer to her passengers' needs whilst being so seasick herself.
MAST 014
The group all enjoyed the book. They liked that it was not just about herself but about her encounters with others and the places she worked at.
AUCK 454
Overall the group enjoyed the book. We all felt that it was a "travel log", and there was not enough story weaving through her adventures to link them together.
Interesting story but only a mediocre book.
NELS 040
This was a very popular book with our group. An account of a very interesting life as a doctor.
NELS 012
An inspirational book. What a wonderful woman.
'A Wilder Life' was a jolly good read, even if it's not a literary masterpiece. We enjoyed hearing about some lesser known and isolated parts of the world that we shall probably never visit. Joan Louwrens impressed us with her intrepid spirit and desire to help folk in these remote areas.
HAVE 011
We all enjoyed this easy read. Joan was a brave and adventurous woman, especially with two small children, to travel and be a doctor in remote places.
WELL 041
A delightful true account of Joan Louwrens' journey after attaining her medical degree. Losing her husband early in their marriage and then taking sole custody of their two daughters, Joan continues on dealing with every medical challenge that comes her way, meanwhile going from the Arctic to the Antarctic, isolated communities on islands and many other countries. She is aware of her frailties but does everything she can to gain more knowledge. We all loved this book.
OMAR 001
An interesting read. Interesting life.
JERV 001
For most of us, this book left huge gaps. We were looking for a more rounded picture of the author, who undoubtedly has undertaken some extreme adventures. If the final chapter had been incorporated through the narrative it would have helped. A series of episodes and anecdotes that some found a tad boring and repetitive. A shame that the photographs and typesetting were disappointing too.
All enjoyed the story of this woman's adventurous life, telling of her experiences in remote areas, including riding her bike from Istanbul to Beijing. Some wished for a bit more detail about these places, but there was history, and stories of people like Shackleton, Ranulph Fiennes and Nelson Mandela. We liked her idea of looking for the 'point of wonder' in a day, that special moment to see you through to the next day...
An enjoyable first read for the year - light, interesting descriptions of the environments Joan chose to work in, the animal and bird life she experienced, the characters she travelled with interspersed with medical stories, including conventional and unconventional treatments. Joan's humility and honesty helped the reader to relate to her stories.
TAUR 018
All enjoyed this book of real life experiences about a brave adventurous woman. Amazing life lived to extremes with many risks and challenges. We wondered about her daughter's anorexia and her future. A very good read, clearly constructed.
Most members enjoyed the book greatly, seeing it as a medical themed travelogue but with the author's reactions, insights, insecurities and successes woven in. Our discovery that this was her second book, with the first having been an autobiography, helped us understand and appreciate it on its own terms; it was not intended to be an autobiography as such and this helped explain its episodic nature and the feeling at a number of points that there was information missing...For all its slightly frustrating structure, the book worked overall, and was a worthwhile and enriching read.
TAUR 005
The style of writing was slightly sloppy - but very readable. Interesting selection of anecdotes regarding her chosen medical career, which we all enjoyed and found interesting.
Generally the travel descriptions and medical anecdotes were interesting but we felt the book could have been better edited and seemed a little disjointed, more like a travel blog than a memoir.