Rated of 5
by Laura (Los Angeles CA)
The White Mary
A harrowing adventure story at its core, The White Marycenters around Marika Vecera, a war correspondent always seeking out the worlds most dangerous situations because of a life-long commitment to tell the story of victims of war and genocide. But the things she witnesses leave her emotionally frozen.
Escaping problems in her new love relationship, she goes to Papua New Guinea chasing down a rumor that her hero, Robert Lewis might still be alive in a remote village in the middle of a mostly unexplored area. Salaks development of her characters, their feelings and motivations, can seem a bit wooden and manufactured, but she shines when describing Marikas journey through the incredibly difficult terrain of Papua New Guinea. Marika deals with leeches, snakes, and the real possibility of deadly illness away from any of the comforts or safety of her western home. Salak, the author, traversed PNG solo and wrote an award-winning non-fiction book about the journey, making her descriptions of Marikas experiences read like a wonderfully descriptive real life journal.
Being a war correspondent, Marika is used to deprivation and difficulty but when she puts her life on the line time and again in her quest to find a man she never personally knew on the strength of a vague rumor I felt the character was stuck in a plot, rather than Marikas story simply unfolding. But again, these chapters of her stay deep in jungle of PNG living among people who have rarely, if ever, seen a white person, are captivating.