Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Steph Jagger's Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery A Book Review

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When I received Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery from Harper Wave and TLC Book Tours I was not quite sure what to expect. In short, Steph Jagger crafts a coming of age, find yourself narrative in which she forsakes the daily grind of middle class prosperity in search of greater meaning. Steph’s goal: ski around the world and hit four million feet. An arbitrary number, but everyone thought she was crazy—everyone. Yet, by year’s end, Jagger mistakenly eclipses a world record and finds herself in the process. What she finds arrives in the form of not a finished product, but one that is the adult outgrowth of joy, challenge, and curiosity. To get there, Jagger learns what many never learn: people are never complete and life is not about the finish line or the starting line even, but the journey down the path to fulfillment.

As she notes early on, Jagger wants to break out: “But what I didn’t know at the time was that becoming one’s best and being one’s bravest involves cracking open. It means shattering most, if not all of ourselves.”  Life has trapped her. She, like many in her age group, opts not to sit through it, but rather to hit the reboot button. While her story lacks the typical deep seeded physical and psychological pain that such journey pieces often follow, Jagger is able to paint the absolute ennui of young adulthood. The expectations of the house and job and marriage and kids—the roots—suffocate her and force her to find a new meaning. The fact that she chooses snow and lives a privileged life in doing so does not detract from her overall message. She wants to find something more and to help her reader understand what such a journey entails.

In detail, the narrative reads rather easily. Jagger has a positive, chirpy prose full of metaphor and pop culture references. She is honest, detailed when she needs to be, and while she hits on the personal details, she is quick to do so only to the extent to let her reader understand what is going on. She also knows this journey is her choice: there are not drugs, deaths, or heartaches forcing it on her: “No one was forcing any of this on me. I didn’t have the right to call any of it difficult.” But it was difficult, anything worth doing is, and Jagger allows the reader to understand this fact with each and every passing page.

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1 comment:

  1. So true! Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. One of my favorite sayings is, I'm not saying it's going to be easy. I'm saying it's going to be worth it.

    Thank you for being on this tour!