Book Review – Adventure Divas by Holly Morris

After spending most of her publishing career in a cubicle, Holly Morris decided to quit her day job and start Adventure Divas. She and her mother, who had a career in broadcasting, rounded up a crew of like-minded individuals and searched the globe to find true “divas.” For Morris a “diva” was a woman who had done or was doing extraordinary things to promote human rights. Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for Women Who Are Changing the World is a non-fiction account of this journey from desk job to Cuba, to India, and beyond. Along the way she deals with interpersonal conflicts with her mother and with financial issues traveling abroad.

To finance this dream project, Morris did odd jobs such as head-hunting head hunters in Borneo and being a broadcaster on a Matterhorn climb. Always up for the adventure, Morris recounts these experiences with a light heart, even when things don’t go as planned – which they rarely do. Quirky and lighthearted, this book is part adventure, part travel, and part human interest stories centered around women’s rights and human rights in general.

Morris’s interviews were conducted throughout the globe, with the first one in Cuba. Despite serious logistical and financial issues, the story was a success and her initial film sequence was picked up by PBS and later made into a documentary series. The most interesting interviews take place in the first half of the book, with people who are hard to find and harder to interview. Some of the figures include Black Panther exiles, authors, and various human rights activists.

Although the interviews are interesting – and the stories of getting lost, losing the film, and losing the interview are told with charm – the book becomes repetitive toward the end. Monetary issues are quickly resolved, the mother-daughter issues lack conflict, and the most interesting interviews occur early in the diva search. I found myself skimming the last half of the book, yearning for it to be as interesting as the first half.

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