It sounds like a self-indulgent gap-year jaunt: in the summer of 2006 Jo Huxster and Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent drove a pink motorised rickshaw from Bangkok to Brighton. But their trip was inspired by Huxster’s four-year battle with depression and self-harm and by the suicide of a close friend. The aim was to raise money and awareness for the mental health charity Mind, and they kept an internet travel diary throughout their journey.
This is a prime example of the “blook” phenomenon, whereby a popular blog is published as a book. There are times when the dual narration can be frustrating – more judicious editing would have removed a lot of repetition. While the descriptions of the countries they motor through are more factual than evocative, the book’s charm lies in the relationship between the writers and their appealingly cheery Enid
Blyton-style determination to overcome all obstacles. Our two plucky heroines fend off unwanted advances from amorous Kazakhs, change spark plugs and negotiate with Chinese border officials.
The reader swiftly learns thatit is not as easy to manoeuvre a motorised rickshaw through 12 countries as it may first appear. Inspirational is an overused term, but it is unavoidable here.