Pamela Lynch, How the hell did I get here? Book Review

Pamela Lynch is one amazing woman. She completed a PhD in Classics and Ancient History when she was 55. A few months before her sixtieth birthday, she trekked to the Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas.

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Not satisfied, she repeated the trek again several years later. She was in Katmandu in Nepal in 2015 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck. On her return, she wrote about her experiences in her memoir, How the hell did I get here?

In spite of her academic background, Dr Pamela Lynch writes informally and with great immediacy. She includes the reader so that it feels they’ve witnessed the scenery and action as she describes them.

I could almost see Deboche village on an easy section of the track. I could feel solid gravel underfoot, see where houses were intermingled with sheds built from scraps. These included ‘pieces of iron sheets of wood and a mixture of odd doors, topped with blue or green iron roofs, mostly rusty’.

My stomach churned at the thought of walking for hours in sludge mixed with yak pooh. The idea of using the disgusting toilet facilities along the way is repellant.

Much of the writing in How the hell did I get here? is funny. Pamela has a great sense comedy. For example, she describes ‘tales of a midnight yak attack circulating throughout the camp’, the morning after she woke to the sound of a yak bell clanging close to her tent. Another woman, perhaps braver than Pamela, goes to investigate.

‘…armed only with a torch and wearing an assortment of clothing deemed practical for sleeping in at this altitude, Sarah unzipped the front flaps of her orange tent and stumbled out into the night…and confronted a white baby yak cheerfully nibbling away at its supper between our tents.’

But Pamela Lynch also writes about of the grandeur and beauty the mountains of the Himalayas and her admiration of those who have gone to the top of Mount Everest. Her descriptions of the slow progress of the group of trekkers on some days and of the gloom of those days make heavy reading.

She talks about her desperate need to coordinate the movement of her mind, body and legs as she struggled to begin the journey of each day.  The kindness of the guides would have to be experienced to be understood. Pamela Lynch is frank about her emotions. She tells of her fears, the mental and physical exhaustion and her reluctance to ask for help, as well as the exhilaration she experiences from time to time.

The enormous amount of research that went into the writing fits seamlessly into the memoir.

Publishing details of this memoir by Pamela Lynch

Title: How the hell did I get here?

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: The Book Reality Experience (March 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0648222217

Disclaimer:  Pamela Lynch and I joined a blogging mastermind group in February this year. We have met each other three times.


Australian Women Writers Challenge 2018

This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers Challenge, 2018. You can read some of my other reviews here  and here.

4 thoughts on “Pamela Lynch, How the hell did I get here? Book Review

  1. Thanks yet again Maureen for sharing your review on – yes, yet again – an evident great read. I love hearing stories of brave, vibrant women who open themselves up to amazing challenges, who are prepared to speak of subsequent fears, fears accepted and faced. Stories – and the writing of such – that inspire many of us to climb our own mountains. I look forward to reading it.

    • Hi, Elizabeth, I think your comment might have been sitting here for a while… Thank you for saying you like my reviews. And I think you would also like this book. Pam Lynch is truly an inspiration and role model for ageing with a great deal of style.

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