There are two ways (probably more, but stay with me here) to enjoy a memoir. One is to step completely outside of yourself, view the world through a different lens and absorb the memorist’s hard-earned lesson. Another is to live vicariously through the memoirist, easily imagining yourself in the author’s world, because you have seen and done that to some degree.
Unpacked: A Memoir of Checked Baggage by Aly Coy, brought me back to my years of traveling in Europe and Ecuador in my early 20s. My experiences were completely different from Aly’s, and yet I recognized familiar feelings, thoughts and behavior. I lived vicariously through her as she romped from adventure to adventure across Western Europe but that’s not really what the book is about.
In the midst of these adventures, Aly enters into a relationship that slowly disintegrates into something unhealthy, and this, too was something I recognized. Getting lost in a relationship that is going nowhere, is detrimental to your mental health, yet it is incredibly hard to extricate yourself. Here’s the thing about relationships, though. The worst ones teach you the most about yourself. Aly struggles to find her voice, to own her place in the relationship and comes out in the end a stronger, more self-aware woman that is able to serve herself well.
Aly Coy is a good storyteller, and is able to vividly recreate scenes that happened over a period of five years, compiled from her journals and photos kept during those years, including some sex scenes that leave little to the imagination.
Read this book if you want to get lost in a good story, but don’t expect to come away with any profound new understandings.
More about Unpacked: A Memoir of Checked Baggage by Aly Coy, from Amazon:
With nothing but her backpack and an open-ended ticket, Torontonian Aly Coy spends five years traveling Western Europe. She is faced with a decision: to stay in a tumultuous relationship homesteading in The Spanish Pyrenees, or go back to a life she had given up as a young professional in Toronto. She attempts to live off-the-grid but finds herself planning an escape from an emotionally and verbally abusive partner. The reader travels through time and space to when Aly has little-to-no money, works in tourism, learns how to garden, lives on a commune, dumpster dives, discovers herbal medicine, and falls for all the wrong men and women. In her heartfelt travel memoir, unpacked, Aly Coy goes into raw detail about her sexually charged, sometimes hilarious, sometimes disturbing, life abroad.
About the Author:
Aly Coy lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. She has three European walking tours published on Amazon and is the owner of Barefoot Daughter Body Care. Her debut book UNPACKED: a memoir of checked baggage is set to release June 11th 2019. You can follow her blog and her botanical body care business at www.barefootdaughter.com
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