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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Rita Golden Gelman thought her trip to Mexico was a two-month respite from her posh life in Los Angeles and her marriage of more than 20 years. She was wrong. After returning, Gelman divorced her husband and devised a plan that would enable her to live a good life abroad, which her royalties from authoring children's books would finance. She spent the next 15 years journeying around the world, an adventure she chronicles in Tales of a Female Nomad.
Gelman's memoir reads like a fancy-free woman's getaway how-to. But the heart of Tales of a Female Nomad is contained within rich stories that are funny, inspiring, and eye-popping. At one point, she recounts a conversation with a fellow American in Guatemala City. He says he has discovered paradise and will never return to the United States. She expresses surprise at his certainty, only to have him confess, "I am wanted for bank robbery in Texas."
No matter how long Gelman stays in each destination -- from the Galá`pagos Islands and Israel to Nicaragua and New Zealand -- she always assimilates the customs of her new community. Some of her adventures, however, are "do not repeats." At a village ceremony in Borneo, Gelman is passed tuak (a type of liquor) in the skull of the last human being to have been sacrificed for the particular ceremony (no one reveals when that was). The author imagines that she is drinking the brains of a human being. Yum.
Drawing readers into Gelman's travels to developing countries around the world, as well into the story of her personal awakening, Tales of a Female Nomad resonates long after the last page has been turned. (Soozan Baxter)