The BritMums book club is a fantastic place to meet and discuss new books that we may have never heard of or even considered reading before. I like to keep my mind open about books that I would like to dive into and when BritMums suggested Above All Things by Tanis Rideout, I was super excited as this really did not look like a book that I would pick up in the shops (may I also add that I do like to purchase 99% of my shelf fillers from Charity shops…Give an old book a new home!).
Firstly: SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT>>> KIND OF! I have included a video at the bottom of the post, that I found very, very interesting!
Above all things tells the elegant (fictionalised) story of George Mallory on his third, fateful attempt to climb Mt Everest in 1924. I knew very little about Mallory before reading this fascinating story, and had only a brief memory of this man who never came home, but his well preserved body being recovered on the mountain side in 1999.
This book follows three characters and each gives their own views on the expedition. George Mallory himself, his wife Ruth who remains at home with the children, and Sandy (Andrew Irvine). I found the book quite slow to get into at first but once I was 1/3 of the way into the story the book really opened up to me and I found myself drawn to the characters and finding out more… through much time on Google and reading more than the novel was giving me. I often found the Rideout’s descriptions of the scenes a little hard to digest, but I wasn’t sure if this was her writing style or the fact that I know so little about Everest and was finding the images hard to conjure.
The book has an excellent mix of fact (from Rideout’s years of research) and glorious fiction, both interlaced so beautifully. The book left me feeling that I had learnt so much about the expedition while still feeling that ‘warm glow’ that we gain from an elegant fiction novel.
After finishing the book, I felt like I wanted to read more and more about Everest and it’s climbers. I found myself on Google looking at images of those who have conqured Mt. Everest and those bodies that the mountain has claimed. I have watched the video from the 1999 climbers who found Mallory’s body and identified him and this left me speechless.
This is deffinatly a book that I shall keep close to my heart and on my bookshelf for years to come, so one day when my kids are at school they can pick up Above All Things and read it for themselves.
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