Last week I finally picked up Cara Lopez Lee’s travel memoir, They Only Eat their Husbands (Ghost Road Press, 2011) and wonder what took me so long. I was most impressed by Lee’s utter and complete honesty, whether about her turbulent family relationships, her dysfunctional boyfriends, or her need to run away.
Her memoir chronicles her years in Alaska, where she worked at a television studio as an anchor and producer, as well as the year she spent traveling around the world alone. I have to admit that I was looking forward to her world travels more than her years in Alaska. So it was a pleasant surprise when I kept waiting for another chapter about Alaska. She describes it beautifully even though it was a place ridden with alcoholic boyfriends and loneliness.
But because Lee is so honest about this time in her life, I felt very sympathetic toward her character. What twenty- or thirty-something woman hasn’t gone through a turbulent patch when it comes to relationships? I also loved reading about her fascinating ancestry, including Native American, European, Chinese, and Mexican.
I was expecting the title to appear in a scene from an outpost in Borneo or some such exotic place. And while it does (although not in Borneo), the story behind it is quite endearing and to me signified the place when she comes into her own as an adult and world traveler.
Another thing that impressed me about Lee’s memoir was the structure she used. It wasn’t a chronological “this happened, then this, and then this”, but rather a series of Alaskan flashbacks spread across her chapters depicting her travels abroad. I found it very easy to follow. This structure also kept me wanting to know what happened next, both with the Alaska story and the traveling story. And in the end, they become one and the same.
To read more about Lee’s travels, both at home and abroad, check out her website, Girls Trek Too!