Wilder Life, A

Louwrens, Joan

  7 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.

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"I loved this book. Joan is adventurous, humble, skilled and tells a wonderful, descriptive story."

"The medical stories are both interesting and engaging."

"I enjoyed the way the author interspersed medical case anecdotes with clear descriptions of the locations and the people she met."

"I liked the way she included personal details, such as her lack of self-confidence, her humility, her early widowhood, motherhood etc."

"I appreciated the map of the world showing the places she writes about."

"My knowledge of life in extreme places was broadened, and safely so from my sofa."

"I think this book should be included in the scheme as it would appeal to more than merely those with an interest in medical stories."



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.