Book Review: Call It Wonder by Kate Evans

Late in her memoir about travel, love, and self-discovery, Call It Wonder (2015), Kate Evans writes, "...time isn't linear but is a folded-over piece of paper where events touch, where thought and outcome occur not in sequence but in a flash." Her book explores this fluidity of time and memory, finding parallels in her past and present.

Each chapter in Call It Wonder takes the reader through the author's current life, during which she and her husband sell most of their possessions so they can travel the world. This narrative thread is intriguing, but the comparisons the book draws to the past are most compelling, especially because Evans has lead an interesting life teaching, pursuing her career as a writer, fighting for marriage equality, considering her mortality, and balancing her desires for both freedom and purpose.

In most travel narratives, the exotic locales sit front and center, but in Call It Wonder, the settings serve as reflections for Evans' internal discovery. For example, when she teaches English abroad in Japan, her struggles with the language barrier, cuisine, and gender politics become catalysts to examine her feelings about femininity and independence. The places she calls home--whether that be a friend's guest room for a few weeks in Australia or the house affectionately called the "Love Nest" in Santa Cruz--symbolize her fluid desires for creativity, comfort, and love. By observing her in all of these locales, we are able to see the varied shades of her dreams.

For readers who enjoyed books like Wild or Eat, Pray, Love, Kate Evans' Call It Wonder will be treat. It's a rewarding travelogue that helped me consider my own experiences on the road and as a writer. Many memoirs attempt to translate experience into simple narrative arcs, but Evans' memoir transcends that structure and is all the better for it.




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