Monday, March 3, 2008

Travels With My Donkey - Tim Moore

I'll admit right off the bat to skipping several books I've read: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce, Bill of Wrongs and probably at least one more.

Travels With My Donkey
Tim Moore
St. Martin's Griffin
Copyright: 2004
ISBN: 0312320833

I've also seen this book under the title Spanish Steps, which includes a photograph section from the trip.

Travels With My Donkey is one funny book in places. It charts the pilgrimage made by the author along the Camino De Santiago, the pilgrimage route across northern Spain. The book is rather irreverent in places, particularly as the author tends to refer to St. James, the patron saint of the pilgrimage as 'Jim', 'Jimbo' and 'St. Jim'. The latter name comes in more closer to the end of the pilgrimage.

On the other hand, the author has a way of turning phrases to make you laugh. For example, this one from the beginning of the book on page 19: "There were still wolves in some of the lonelier forests, and bears had been reintroduced by someone with his heart in the right place and a desire to see mine in the serrated, slavering wrong one."

Also often amusing is the way Tim describes the other pilgrims and the places along the route. Sometimes funny, sometimes simply breathtaking, especially for the places and the weather.

Watching the author change throughout the journey is interesting. Perhaps it's because I took so long reading the book (mostly in little half hour segments over my lunch breaks) but I didn't really notice the changes until at the end. At the beginning, Tim is frightened of the donkey he's decided he's going to use for the pilgrimage, but over the course of the journey that changes.

On occasion as Tim Moore writes about the medieval pilgrims he seems to perpetuate the stereotypes about the time period. On the other hand, the author often makes reference to the medieval pilgrimage guide and what it said about the places, which I found particularly interesting.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is either interested in the pilgrimage route, likes travel literature, or who simply likes to read about Spain.
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