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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Alone in Antarctica is Felicity Aston's memoir of her solo trip across Antarctica. The story begins at the beginning: her initial conditioning movements as she tows auto tires across the sands of a local beach to prepare for the towing of the sledges that will carry her goods. Aston shares all the details and arrangements that an expedition to Antarctica requires and discusses the thought processes that went into her choice of route. The reader gets to feel her frustration at the delays due to weather and her fears that those delays are taking vital chunks out of her allotted time during the short Antarctic summer. When Aston is finally out there on the ice watching the plane disappear into the distance, the jubilation and panic she feels is expressed clearly and plainly. As she travels through storms, wind, and white-out conditions, the reader shares each experience and emotion Aston feels.
Felicity Aston's memoir, Alone in Antarctica, is more gripping than many adventure tales and not only because it is a true story. Aston is brutally honest in her account of this epic adventure. We see her filled with self-doubt, weeping in her tent, and feel almost a bit embarrassed at being present during these private moments. What will thrill armchair adventurers and those of us who've harbored dreams of polar exploration and arctic voyages is Aston's descriptions of the environment she encounters, the forbidding peaks, the pale blue sastrugi seeming to be eyes peering out at her in the distance, the intensity of winds that make each step a struggle. Alone in Antarctica brings all the intensity of this remarkable achievement to life with simple and brutal honesty, and I'm thrilled to have read it.