A date with desire or death?

A memoir that brings humour, wisdom, and a cast of colourful characters to the Himalayas.
Book Info
Title: 
Juliette's Angel: Death Desire Destiny
Author: 
Juliette Power
Publisher: 
Juliette Power The Aussie Author

 

 

Juliette’s Angel, Death Desire Destiny (2016) is a memoir richly woven through recollections of childhood and adolescence. Juliette’s story opens with the memory of her mother’s suicide when she was eleven years old. Looking back at this defining event, she writes, While my mother’s body decayed, mine blossomed. Fuelled by hormones, my edges peaked and softened with curves. An obstinate teenager, I despised yet craved parental approval and guidance. This is Juliette’s story of how she obstinately and stubbornly made her own way, after running away from home as a teenager and then falling in love in Townsville.  Her laconic style convincingly evokes the hot dusty streets of Townsville as a backdrop to her seduction of Johnny. Angel is Johnny’s name for her, the closest he comes to saying he loves her.

Juliette and her young adult daughter Bonnie go trekking journey in the Himalayas joining a wryly observed international throng on the search for beauty and meaning. Through the journey Juliette weighs life’s lessons and the value of her relationship with Bonnie in a series of both serious and comic situations as the stories weaves between Juliette’s past and the present encounters with the mountain, their guide Pratap, and the internationals who throng there looking for challenges and the satisfaction of conquering nature’s heights. Frequently Juliette lapses into reverie, imaging either the best of worst possible outcomes of imagined events such as:

Should I get bumped off the edge by a yak, this could be my fate. Vultures would enjoy a smorgasbord lunch, Bonnie would be motherless, and Johnny would be a widower. He’d fly to Graceland on the insurance payout.

The mountains bring Juliette close to death: her mother’s death, her own death and her future.  On the mountain, she finds her Angel. Although this is essentially a story of loss, what endures from this read is the humour and the insight. The carefully crafted and sensitively observed descriptions of both Australian life and neighbourhoods and Nepali scenes and people are a joyful read.  

If you enjoy wisdom that’s grounded in humour, experience and gritty reality you will find great rewards here. I commend it to you. Juliette’s Angel is book 1 of a 3-part series that takes Juliette, her Angel, and her enquiring mind to other parts of the world.   I look forward to Castaway Great Barrier Reef and Honeymoon with my Sister.  Self-published, the book can be obtained from Juliette’s website.  

Reviewed by Pamela Greet