Discover the true happiness in life with Donna Mulvenna as she writes an unfiltered story about her life in French Guiana in her extraordinary memoir, Wild Roots – Coming Alive in the French Amazon! Life in Australia had always been almost perfect and convenient for Donna and yet that feeling of not belonging there or not being happy enough always nagged her. She had a stable job where everybody respected her opinion, but something was missing. When her French boyfriend, Franck, asked her to move to French Guiana with him, she was excited, confused, and paranoid. All the obvious questions bombarded her brain and filled it with doubt. However, love conquers it all and she took the plunge and joined her boyfriend towards an adventurous life in French Guiana. What awaited there was nothing that she could have ever imagined even in her wildest dreams. Initially, she felt extremely overwhelmed with this immense change of lifestyle, but gradually French Guiana grew on her. The raw encounters with nature left her in awe and she began counting her blessings.
I was afraid that Wild Roots would turn out to be a mini-encyclopedia of the wild animals, plants, and other natural elements and that I would not feel connected with the content or the characters of the book, but I am delighted that I was so wrong. The things that left me paranoid in the beginning became the sort of content that I started cherishing while reading Wild Roots. She has reminisced about her encounters with various exotic and/or interesting creatures (birds and animals) in such a beautiful story-telling manner that they never seemed too informational. The story-telling remained the major part of her memoir and this factor kept me, as a reader, entertained throughout the reading. I particularly enjoyed the part where she mentioned the myth that one should never turn one’s back on a [French] trogon or risk drowning or have some mishap occur in your life. While turning the pages, I got the privilege of meeting harpies, Agami herons, potoo among others.
Her passion for canoeing and kayaking is quite visible and appealing. This interest of hers not only helped her meet her boyfriend but also many exciting friends. Together they went on some extraordinary journeys to have many memorable experiences. But life in French Guiana is not a bed of roses for people who are too attached to a life of comfort and luxury. Living in the wilderness sounds impressive, and reading her memoir, one is sure to consider moving to the French Amazon, but the author has clearly warned about the pros and cons of the same.
The troubles that she went through, like finding a “bald mouse” flying in the room, frogs hopping in the toilet, snakes wandering all around the house, are not something that everybody can cope with. Donna, not only coped with these situations but thrived in those. This is where she discovered herself and her true happiness. While we, living in all sorts of conveniences, are feeling uncomfortable with our daily routines and monotonous lifestyles, she is totally at ease in the wilderness that challenges her to be a more humble person every day.
Her writing style is filled with humor and reflects the kind of person that she is. I enjoyed reading her memoir and would recommend it to the readers who wish to know about a life in the wilderness, French Guiana, French Amazon, and exotic creatures. Reading Wild Roots is definitely the most humbling experience. In the least, it would teach us to count our blessings and connect with nature as often as possible.