This week HLL reviewer Lisa has been reading This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson. Sarah is a former journalist and TV presenter, author and activist. She wrote the New York Times bestsellers I Quit Sugar and First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. In her latest book, Sarah journeys through the complexities of climate change, coronvirus, racial inequalities. She hikes around the world, meeting wild voices and experts who help navigate her on a path to a better world.
The title of the book was originally ‘Wake The F*ck Up’ and intended to make people stop and make the necessary urgent reaction to what is happening in our world. The author, Sarah, changed the title as she felt that it was aggressive and not helpful.
I will admit I knew very little of this book before reading it and it was an emotional read. Sarah writes in a way that you feel a myriad of emotions that she has experienced.
‘A path back to connection in a fractured world’
The book is ‘a path back to connection in a fractured world’. In it, Sarah talks of her ‘itch’ also referred to as a societal shitstorm referring to the many global crises and likened to a form of spiritual PTSD.
Sarah hikes and says she does so to get clear, connect and feel. She documents these hikes across the world, people she meets on her travels, what she learns and her realisations about the dangers to the earth we live in including climate change.
The book covers current events such as systemic racism. It also explores COVID-19, likening it to ‘nature [sending] us all to our rooms to have a good hard look at ourselves’ and forcing us all to reassess what is essential and non-essential in life.
The book is powerful and thought provoking. It talks of crisis but also hope. It explores fear, anger and anxiety and what actions situations that provoke these feelings can trigger. And it talks of love and kindness and what is necessary sacrifice for change. Sarah talks of her personal experiences with pregnancy, loss and the grief that accompanies those situations.
There were two hashtags that I liked; #giveashit and #buylesslivemore to connect and be more present, aware, realisation from minimalism.
The book was written using facts and sources from over 100 people. These include, but are not limited to, scientists, poets, activists, philosophers and more.
There are many quotes within the book but some that resonated with me were:
After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains.American poet Walt Whitman
The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.Greek philosopher Epictetus
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.Roman philosopher Seneca
Through her journey Sarah sold her business and gave her money away to charity to remain true to herself. The irony was that she was then booked out by corporates for speaking roles focused largely on how to be successful and not money orientated.
I really like the comments found within the margins and their inclusion of little notes that could be useful as you read containing more information from the author. There were parts of the book I felt moved too fast to the next thing and darted from one topic to another and at times a little preachy. Overall I did really enjoy it and it has certainly left food for thought!
Find out more
If you are interested the book is available to purchase from Amazon from £16.33 here.