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I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain

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One woman's journey of reclamation through natural landscapes as she contemplates identity and womanhood, nature, place and belonging. Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England in Summer 2019 when she became the victim of a racially motivated hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita One woman's journey of reclamation through natural landscapes as she contemplates identity and womanhood, nature, place and belonging. Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England in Summer 2019 when she became the victim of a racially motivated hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. A crushing sense of claustrophobia made her long for wide open spaces, to breathe deeply in the great outdoors. She was intent on not letting her experience stop her from traveling freely and without fear. Between the route from Liverpool to Newcastle lays the Pennines, known as the backbone of Britain. That backbone runs through the north and also strongly connects north with south, east with west--it's a place of borderlands and limestone, of rivers and scars, of fells and forces. The Pennines called to Anita with a magnetic force; although a racist had told her to leave, she felt drawn to further explore the area she regards as her home, to immerse herself deeply in place. Anita's journey through the natural landscapes of the North is one of reclamation, a way of saying that this is her land too and she belongs in the UK as a brown woman, as much as a white man does. We're living in an era of increased hostility in which more people of color around the world are being told to go back; strong statements of belonging are needed more than ever. Anita's journey gives her the perspective to reflect upon the important issues encompassed in her experience of abuse including speaking out, gaslighting, trauma, kindness, and notions of strength. Her journey transforms what began as an ugly experience of hate into one offering hope and finding beauty after brutality. Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance, offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards, forging a path through and beyond pain. Every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word written against the rising tide of hate speech, such as this book, is an act of resistance.


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One woman's journey of reclamation through natural landscapes as she contemplates identity and womanhood, nature, place and belonging. Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England in Summer 2019 when she became the victim of a racially motivated hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita One woman's journey of reclamation through natural landscapes as she contemplates identity and womanhood, nature, place and belonging. Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England in Summer 2019 when she became the victim of a racially motivated hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. A crushing sense of claustrophobia made her long for wide open spaces, to breathe deeply in the great outdoors. She was intent on not letting her experience stop her from traveling freely and without fear. Between the route from Liverpool to Newcastle lays the Pennines, known as the backbone of Britain. That backbone runs through the north and also strongly connects north with south, east with west--it's a place of borderlands and limestone, of rivers and scars, of fells and forces. The Pennines called to Anita with a magnetic force; although a racist had told her to leave, she felt drawn to further explore the area she regards as her home, to immerse herself deeply in place. Anita's journey through the natural landscapes of the North is one of reclamation, a way of saying that this is her land too and she belongs in the UK as a brown woman, as much as a white man does. We're living in an era of increased hostility in which more people of color around the world are being told to go back; strong statements of belonging are needed more than ever. Anita's journey gives her the perspective to reflect upon the important issues encompassed in her experience of abuse including speaking out, gaslighting, trauma, kindness, and notions of strength. Her journey transforms what began as an ugly experience of hate into one offering hope and finding beauty after brutality. Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance, offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards, forging a path through and beyond pain. Every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word written against the rising tide of hate speech, such as this book, is an act of resistance.

30 review for I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Anita Sethi was travelling on a train when a fellow passenger who was playing music was asked to turn down the volume by the conductor. The passenger ignored the request, increasing the volume instead. As she could feel a migraine coming on, Anita asked him again to turn down the volume. His response this time was to direct a torrent of racist abuse at her for which, in due course, he was sentenced for having committed a racially motivated hate crime. Anita was severely traumatised by the events Anita Sethi was travelling on a train when a fellow passenger who was playing music was asked to turn down the volume by the conductor. The passenger ignored the request, increasing the volume instead. As she could feel a migraine coming on, Anita asked him again to turn down the volume. His response this time was to direct a torrent of racist abuse at her for which, in due course, he was sentenced for having committed a racially motivated hate crime. Anita was severely traumatised by the events of that day. She was shown a lot of kindness by some of her fellow passengers and by the railway staff but others just turned away. I cannot imagine what it is like to be abused because of the colour of your skin, to feel self conscious about your skin colour, or to be on the receiving end of racism. I realise now, I’ve never given it enough thought. I was bullied at school for a while and have been on the receiving end of the usual rubbish women have to contend with but I’m certain that isn't a meaningful comparison. Anita Sethi’s honesty in talking about this issue has heightened my awareness of how stressful and frightening it is to be attacked, verbally and physically, because of your skin colour; for people constantly asking you where you’re from when the answer is here. Her revelations have given me a lot to think about. I believe I can say, hand on heart, that I have never discriminated against someone because of their race, religion or skin colour, but is that enough? Would I stand up to the ned on the train? As part of her recovery programme, Anita decides to walk in the Pennines, mainly on her own. Starting in Gargrave, she walks to Malham and on to Settle and beyond. As she passes through small villages, she wonders what the locals think of this brown woman walking past their homes. She tells us that BAME people are not seen in rural locations as much as they should be, that they don’t have the same level or comfort of access that white people do. That is why she is particularly self conscious of her skin colour there. On a later trip, she walks along Hadrian’s Wall. Whilst walking, she muses on the power of nature, the dangers the environment is facing across the globe, about the sense of belonging to a place, about the roots of words, their original meanings, their meanings now and their personal meanings to her. While the earlier part of the book is really powerful, and throughout there are interesting facts to be learned, I found that it became quite repetitive and also quite disjointed. Anita’s rambling* through the countryside was accompanied by rambling thoughts and, for me, too many overworked analogies. I particularly enjoyed the etymological passages but I grew weary even of them as the book went on. On balance, however, I’m glad I read it due to the many very important issues Sethi raises and I have a lot of respect for what is a very poignant and timely book. 3.5 stars. *To ramble: 1. To walk for pleasure in the countryside. 2. To talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way. (OED) With thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for a review copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    A description of Anita Sethi´s walk along the Pennines in the North of England after having suffered under a racially motivated hate crime on a train, thus trying to recover from her PSD and anxiety by interacting with nature. I can imagine (or not) that it must have been awful to suffer this crime with its impact on her life, so I understand that the author wanted to write something about her experience and dealing with it. But... The rather small parts of this book about her walk are combined wi A description of Anita Sethi´s walk along the Pennines in the North of England after having suffered under a racially motivated hate crime on a train, thus trying to recover from her PSD and anxiety by interacting with nature. I can imagine (or not) that it must have been awful to suffer this crime with its impact on her life, so I understand that the author wanted to write something about her experience and dealing with it. But... The rather small parts of this book about her walk are combined with thoughts about her experience on the train, general racism, colonialism, but also psychotherapy by water and other natural phenomena, preservation of nature etc. etc. All these themes get a bit too much in this description, and are further augmented by explanations of certain words, plants, body parts, history, which everyone could easily have looked up. Good intention, but not very well written and overloaded with these signs of "knowledge". Though she as a Brit has studied history she doesn´t even know when the year of the three Kings was. I also thought that she was badly prepared for a such a long walk over days and weeks, f.e. concerning her shoes. Those are only small parts, but they add to my disappointment with this book. And editor/co-writer would perhaps have helped. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ebook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    I Belong Here is a rich and evocative piece of nature writing in which Sethi explores identity, nature, place and belonging as well as the link between mother nature and a horrifying hate crime she was subjected to. During a trip through Northern England Anita Sethi became the victim of a race-hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the attack, Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. A crushing sense of claustrophobia made he I Belong Here is a rich and evocative piece of nature writing in which Sethi explores identity, nature, place and belonging as well as the link between mother nature and a horrifying hate crime she was subjected to. During a trip through Northern England Anita Sethi became the victim of a race-hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the attack, Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. A crushing sense of claustrophobia made her long for wide open spaces, to breathe deeply in the great outdoors. She was intent on not letting her experience stop her travelling freely and without fear. In her new book, I Belong Here: a Journey Along the Backbone of Britain, the first of her nature writing trilogy, Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance. By offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards, forging a path through and beyond pain, every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word written is an act of resistance. Anita's journey through the natural landscapes of the North is one of reclamation, a way of saying that this is her land too and she belongs in the UK as a brown woman, as much as a white man does. Her journey transforms what began as an ugly experience of hate into one offering hope and finding beauty after brutality. A fascinating, insightful and powerful exploration of how nature has the power to ground and to heal, and Sethi illustrates that even despite the despicable actions of others, solace can be sought and found. Highly recommended especially to those suffering from any kind of trauma. I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fern Adams

    ‘I Belong Here’ is an interesting look at race, nature and belonging. Anita Sethi was racially abused on a train and made to feel like an outsider. Following this incident she started to reflect on a sense of belonging and in particular belonging to a landscape. Consequently she decided to walk along the Pennine Way to address this and look at the idea of belonging as she walked. This book explores how things are linked and intertwined and all can effect each other. I really enjoyed reading this ‘I Belong Here’ is an interesting look at race, nature and belonging. Anita Sethi was racially abused on a train and made to feel like an outsider. Following this incident she started to reflect on a sense of belonging and in particular belonging to a landscape. Consequently she decided to walk along the Pennine Way to address this and look at the idea of belonging as she walked. This book explores how things are linked and intertwined and all can effect each other. I really enjoyed reading this. Sethi takes a really fascinating and unique approach by using nature to explore the topics of race, racism and belonging. Her writing style is wonderfully descriptive and she is able to show the reader what a place looked like and also her own feelings really well through the words. I loved her incorporation of etymology throughout as well, tracing back word origins. The nature writing was also compelling, I loved reading about the landscape and the people she met along the way. It felt a very multilayered book and definitely one I will pick up again. The only element stopping me giving it a 5 star review is it did feel at times there was a lot of repetition that could have benefited from a bit of editing. A really thought provoking book! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amna Waqar

    I was disappointed with this book. As a person of colour; with a similar cultural background and same hometown as the author - I was expecting so much more. Anita Sethi was racially abused on a train; it is after this horrific verbal and mental abuse that Sethi finds solace and answers to her sense of belonging by walking the Pennines. The author's writing style, or rather lack of it, was a complete let down. Had I wanted to read details about the skin's epidermis and melanin or read several dict I was disappointed with this book. As a person of colour; with a similar cultural background and same hometown as the author - I was expecting so much more. Anita Sethi was racially abused on a train; it is after this horrific verbal and mental abuse that Sethi finds solace and answers to her sense of belonging by walking the Pennines. The author's writing style, or rather lack of it, was a complete let down. Had I wanted to read details about the skin's epidermis and melanin or read several dictionary definitions of certain words such as 'scar' and 'backbone', I would have picked up an encyclopedia or dictionary instead. Was the author trying to achieve a word count target by throwing in such unnecessary detail? Her train of thought was also off putting- there was a lot of rambling and also a lack of cohesiveness at times. NetGalley provided me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Knight

    DNF I tried, I really did. I got to a point where I was fed up of the waffle and what felt like a stream of consciousness. She does raise some very important points about our society and I feel sad at what she has experienced but this book has no structure, it’s too repetitive and the analogies between parts of her walk and her experience became tiresome. Why all the definitions? This is not a book about her journey through the Pennines at all. I would have liked to hear more of her journey and l DNF I tried, I really did. I got to a point where I was fed up of the waffle and what felt like a stream of consciousness. She does raise some very important points about our society and I feel sad at what she has experienced but this book has no structure, it’s too repetitive and the analogies between parts of her walk and her experience became tiresome. Why all the definitions? This is not a book about her journey through the Pennines at all. I would have liked to hear more of her journey and less about the ramblings of the current state of affairs.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I had high hopes and was disappointed - I kept hoping it would get better but there wasn't enough about the Pennines, and it was a bit repetitive and rambling. Shame, because on a shallow note the cover is gorgeous! I'm not sure how it made the 2021 Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing long-list as there just didn't feel like enough about nature in it. I had high hopes and was disappointed - I kept hoping it would get better but there wasn't enough about the Pennines, and it was a bit repetitive and rambling. Shame, because on a shallow note the cover is gorgeous! I'm not sure how it made the 2021 Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing long-list as there just didn't feel like enough about nature in it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marla

    What a vital, resonant and important book. I'm a woman of colour in the UK and don't think I've ever related to a book so much - I felt utterly swept up in this journey as the author walks through her home country searching for a sense of belonging. Like the author, I've often felt like an outsider in this country and at odds and have experienced much racism - I've often felt alienated by books too which haven't reflected my experience. This book was like a best friend to me in a time I needed it What a vital, resonant and important book. I'm a woman of colour in the UK and don't think I've ever related to a book so much - I felt utterly swept up in this journey as the author walks through her home country searching for a sense of belonging. Like the author, I've often felt like an outsider in this country and at odds and have experienced much racism - I've often felt alienated by books too which haven't reflected my experience. This book was like a best friend to me in a time I needed it most, an isolating pandemic. I was cheering out loud when the author wrote about how we need to reclaim histories and I learnt so much along the way as well. I Belong Here made me cry on a number of occasions and also laugh too, and it's rare to have that combination so well. This is a beautifully written and inspiring book that should be read carefully, re-read and returned to and I would urge everyone to read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Morse

    DNF - I tried many times to finish this book, just couldn't get through it. There is no doubt that the author suffered some terrible racial abuse, this book attempts to tell the tale of a walk of recovery and pride. The technically poor writing left me wondering if it had been edited at all. Where some writers use repetition effectively I felt that Sethi simply lacked the vocabulary and was almost lazy with the same turn of phrase. These repeated words or phrases jarred every time I crossed them, DNF - I tried many times to finish this book, just couldn't get through it. There is no doubt that the author suffered some terrible racial abuse, this book attempts to tell the tale of a walk of recovery and pride. The technically poor writing left me wondering if it had been edited at all. Where some writers use repetition effectively I felt that Sethi simply lacked the vocabulary and was almost lazy with the same turn of phrase. These repeated words or phrases jarred every time I crossed them, in fact they began to infuriate me. After too many mentions of backbone and gas lighting I had to stop. Sethi also attempts to educate the reader with factoid dumps that felt laboured, heavy handed and if I'm honest not overly educational either.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    DNF As an ardent advocate for social justice, equality and human rights, and someone with a passion for hiking, this book would seem to have been written for me. Quality writing though is a prerequisite and that is where this book fell short. Thanks to NetGalley for the e-copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    With thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for an advance review copy. I am an immigrant and I now live in the Peak District, prime walking country, and I thought the concept of this book sounded fascinating. The author, victim of a shocking racist crime in spite of having been born and bred in Manchester, tells the tale of how she set out to reclaim her sense of self and belonging by walking the Pennine Way. The book is structured around sections named for parts of the body, with a correlation With thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for an advance review copy. I am an immigrant and I now live in the Peak District, prime walking country, and I thought the concept of this book sounded fascinating. The author, victim of a shocking racist crime in spite of having been born and bred in Manchester, tells the tale of how she set out to reclaim her sense of self and belonging by walking the Pennine Way. The book is structured around sections named for parts of the body, with a correlation made with the Pennines as the backbone of England, and an emphasis on the awakening of the senses in nature that restore our sense of belonging in our world. I was expecting the book to be mainly an account of being in nature, of the restorative power of rebuilding the relationship with the landscape that many of us have lost in our busy lives, and of rediscovering a sense that we are a part of nature and thus have a place on earth. And it sort of is that, I suppose. But it failed to grip me, and I’m afraid I gave up about halfway in. At the root of my problem with it, I think, is the fact that Anita Sethi is a journalist, and her writing ability does not stretch to a convincingly written longer book. As a ‘brown woman’ in England, she has been subjected to macro and micro aggressions her whole life, to the extent of feeling physically silenced for many years. Unfortunately, her authorial voice fails to do justice to the enormous racial disparities in our society, and her musings feel trite and laboured. So, for example, the grass she walks over is the earth’s green skin, prompting the thought that in nature it is easy to forget her brown skin. Walking across a bridge prompts thoughts about - you guessed it - building bridges across cultural divides. She eats a full English breakfast and considers that her identity as fully English is questioned. And so on, most repetitively and predictably. I am by no means negating the truth of what she says, but the way she makes her points sounds preachy, stilted and cliched. There are also slightly random info dumps which only have a tenuous relationship to the narrative and interrupt the flow. Her technique of taking a feature of the landscape and extrapolating an analogy with social phenomena, with a bit of research she’s carried out thrown in, rapidly becomes laboured and repetitive. This book’s heart is undoubtedly in the right place, but it’s about powerful feelings and societal wrongs, and needs a powerful voice to make an impact, and Anita Sethi’s is sadly not that voice.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I started off really enjoying this book, the account of the racial hate crime against Anita was truly horrifying and her description of how the railway staff and the police dealt with it was well written. However, I did not enjoy the parts of the book that talked about meanings of words i.e the meaning of 'to bear' or the parts that described what we as humans witness. I skipped over these parts as I did not feel they added depth to the story, I tried really hard to get back into the story but I I started off really enjoying this book, the account of the racial hate crime against Anita was truly horrifying and her description of how the railway staff and the police dealt with it was well written. However, I did not enjoy the parts of the book that talked about meanings of words i.e the meaning of 'to bear' or the parts that described what we as humans witness. I skipped over these parts as I did not feel they added depth to the story, I tried really hard to get back into the story but I had lost the plot and lost the feel of the story, I quickly gave up trying to enjoy this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TKP

    Not one for me unfortunately. I kept waiting for there to be something I liked about this book and there just wasn’t. It was just boring and mired in way too much detail that wasn’t needed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    chris tervit

    If I hadn’t read so many other (better) books about women of colour & racism in UK, I may have gained more from this. Instead, I found myself a tad irritated by repeated use of the words ‘gaslighting’ and ‘intersectionality’, and some of her analogies were simply too literal. More of the nature & walking stuff please.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    As a white person, I cannot know how it feels to be physically or verbally attacked because of the colour of my skin, to be told over and over to "go back where you came from" when I am literally in my home, by someone who feels entitled to abuse me in public without fear of repercussions. And I applaud Anita Sethi for her courage in remaining calm, focussing on recording and reporting the abuse so that the man could be successfully prosecuted. And I think also most white people reading her stor As a white person, I cannot know how it feels to be physically or verbally attacked because of the colour of my skin, to be told over and over to "go back where you came from" when I am literally in my home, by someone who feels entitled to abuse me in public without fear of repercussions. And I applaud Anita Sethi for her courage in remaining calm, focussing on recording and reporting the abuse so that the man could be successfully prosecuted. And I think also most white people reading her story will wonder what we would have done if we'd been in that train carriage. Spoken out, sat with her, or tried to melt into the group of silent onlookers, who, apart from one woman, said nothing? Afterwards, she felt the need to walk the countryside near her home of Manchester to recover from the trauma and to recover her sense of belonging. So the idea for the book is good and I appreciate it. Unfortunately the execution is pretty terrible. I was prepared to persist through the rambling prose and introspection, the laboured definitions of words with dual meanings (Jay Griffiths did this so much better in Wild). But between pages 74 and 79 I swiftly lost the will to continue. On page 74: a paragraph starts by describing the grass, which "stretches like a green skin over the surface of the earth". By the end of the paragraph, 15 lines later, she's talking about why feminism must be intersectional. Where was her editor? Next paragraph:"I ponder the term 'woman of colour'". From here she moves to discussing the multiple colours in the nature around her and how they mingle. "In such context you see how foolish colour discrimination is. Does the purple thistle tease the grass about its greenness? I look down again at the grass. Can you imagine a blade of grass having low self-esteem, being made to hate its colour or shape?" No, of course I can't -- it's a blade of grass. How did we get to "Flowers aren't racist, so we shouldn't be either"? The next paragraph switches to Wikipedia mode with a rundown of the fact that there are 10,000 different species of grass. Grasses are an important member of the plant family apparently, "a source of fuel and food, nourishing animals, humans, and the earth itself." Proof that biodiversity is crucial to the planet, "sustaining humans in all our diversity". And then, back to skin, on the basis of grass being skin (?)! Another Wikipedia entry with sentences such as "Sensation including pain is relayed from skin to brain by the dermatone nerves in the skin supplied by a spinal nerve." Later we are told that "Skin makes up about 16 per cent of our body weight, ands we have around 1.6 trillion skin cells, about 30-40,000 of which fall off every hour." It probably all hung together in her mind when she wrote it, but it comes across terribly on the page, a desperate clutching at metaphors and allegories. "As I walk, skin is shedding. Walking deeper and higher into the hills, the present moment sheds a layer and I am again a girl visiting the hills ...". Page 85: "I reach a footbridge..." Uh-oh. Sure enough: "I walk along the bridge and think of how we are living at a time when we need to build bridges and not walls, not only across rivers but also cultural divides." So clumsy and leaden, hammering the point home. So I'm afraid I had to give up. I'm glad Sethi found solace in the hills; this is an introspective, personal story, and so far the landscape seems almost empty of other people apart from her barely present companion. Maybe she does engage with the people who live in and care for this landscape later, but I just can't read on. A good editor could have fixed a lot of the problems, but I think she probably has material for a couple of long articles, here stretched to book length.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chantal Lyons

    'I Belong Here' is quite a different book to the those it'll probably share shelf-space with in bookshops. Perhaps it is closest to 'The Salt Path' (which the author references), in exploring the restorative power of walking through nature after a life-altering experience. Yet it devotes less word count to the walking journey than I expected, which frustrated me a little, although that is because so much else is woven into the narrative - Anita Sethi's experience during and after the racial atta 'I Belong Here' is quite a different book to the those it'll probably share shelf-space with in bookshops. Perhaps it is closest to 'The Salt Path' (which the author references), in exploring the restorative power of walking through nature after a life-altering experience. Yet it devotes less word count to the walking journey than I expected, which frustrated me a little, although that is because so much else is woven into the narrative - Anita Sethi's experience during and after the racial attack on her; her childhood experiences of racism; reflections on the human body; histories of black and brown people in the UK; histories of walking; geology; and the global environmental crisis. Some of these aspects worked, particularly those about race, although some held less interest for me; I found my attention wandering during the passages describing parts of the human body and they felt a little self-indulgent/unnecessary. This is not the book for you if you are looking for a simple start-to-end recounting of a walk (like Cheryl Strayed's 'Wild'). But it is tender and thoughtful. It turns out to be something of a love letter to the northern British landscape, and the people living there - I found myself constantly braced for Sethi to encounter racist attitudes and micro-aggressions, but in fact, there was only one instance where someone made her feel less than welcome with a "where are you from?" question. Everyone else she met on her multi-stage journey was kind, open, and generous. It makes me want to go hiking in the North right now! One more thing I enjoyed about this book - Sethi was completely honest about her patchy ability to name flora and fauna (something I share). Many times, she sees a beautiful plant, or hears a bird's cry, and acknowledges she doesn't know what it is, though the experience still moves her. It's quite refreshing after having read so much nature-writing that prides itself on littering paragraphs with as many species names as possible, and the book feels all the more accessible for it. (With thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Arliss

    It KILLS me to say this but I DNFed "I Belong Here" in the fourth chapter and it was one of my most anticipated books of the year! I am so incredibly disappointed that I am still recovering. I was certain I would love this book because it combines two things that are both important to me, social justice and the environment/nature. And here's the thing, I agree one hundred percent with absolutely everything Ms. Sethi said, I just don't think she writes well. (Her editor did her no favors. Truly.) It KILLS me to say this but I DNFed "I Belong Here" in the fourth chapter and it was one of my most anticipated books of the year! I am so incredibly disappointed that I am still recovering. I was certain I would love this book because it combines two things that are both important to me, social justice and the environment/nature. And here's the thing, I agree one hundred percent with absolutely everything Ms. Sethi said, I just don't think she writes well. (Her editor did her no favors. Truly.) In my life I have read an enormous number of books on these two subjects and I have made it through many that are mediocre just to gain the knowledge contained but I could not do it with "I Belong Here." While I am fairly certain that Ms. Sethi is an fine public speaker and I would like to hear her in person sometime, to my personal sensibilities, she writes like a teenaged girl. It's awful. Somehow she manages to take something incredibly important and, again - in my personal view, whine about it to a degree that was impossible for me to overcome. The book begins well while Ms. Sethi is describing what happened to her on the train. The writing is strong, clear, and purposeful. Then the whining begins. It is one thing for an author to explicitly explore how they felt and how they were impacted as well as how their view of the world was altered by an experience. It is another thing to write as if the author is writing in her own diary about the cute boy in homeroom who won't give her the time of day. The thing that was the worst for me is that what actually happened to Anita Sethi was horrific. It is something no one should ever have to go through and I wanted to be all-in on her side and in her cause. I am definitely the latter (because I was already there) but I can't be the former. It is worth saying that a better editor could have made all the difference in the world to this book. A better editor would have used a boatload of red ink, punched through the purple prose and forced Ms. Sethi down into the core of her own experience. That this did not happen leaves me both disappointed and angry. "I Belong Here" is a wasted opportunity and that makes me sad.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    First of all, I wanted to say a big thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for this ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. • First of all, I want to put some trigger warnings in place as there is mention of hate crimes, particularly race, hate crimes so please be cautious if this may present a trigger to you. • “Racism is about the skin, with no regard of the human heart beating within” This novel is such a raw account of how trauma from racially aggravated attacks can stay wi First of all, I wanted to say a big thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for this ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. • First of all, I want to put some trigger warnings in place as there is mention of hate crimes, particularly race, hate crimes so please be cautious if this may present a trigger to you. • “Racism is about the skin, with no regard of the human heart beating within” This novel is such a raw account of how trauma from racially aggravated attacks can stay with an person. They can become suffocated, as though they’re constantly re-drowning underneath the abhorrent assault of words projected. It’s so so important to read such memoirs, as heartbreaking as it is to read, people of different races and cultural backgrounds don’t have the option of just reading these horrid events. They have to deal with this on a regular basis. Absorbing this and not being ignorant or complicit when you see hate crimes being committed is essential! Systemic change is needed drastically, and as the oppressors, white people need to (at bare minimum) read such harrowing memoirs, it’s easy to turn a blind eye, it’s harder to face what’s actually happening and do something about it. The hard way is the only option. Personally I was mesmerised by this memoir, I particularly adored how Anita took such a disgusting event that happened to her, and turned it into a place of empowerment. It’s very beautifully written, it flows very easily and makes you feel utterly immersed in the landscape of the Pennines, each page leaps out like a vivid trance. You can see what’s happening like a movie in your mind, the raw emotions this book elicits is so powerful and unique to other memoirs I’ve read. It made me wish I was there with Anita myself, holding her hand in solidarity and reassurance that she’s such a powerful woman. Reading about her confidence and empowerment was so heartening, she is an utterly exceptional woman. I am truly so grateful I got to read her beautiful words. Her actions of solidarity towards fellow ethnic minorities and words of empowerment were so uplifting and moving. • Its also an incredibly educational novel, about past racism in Britain and how it needs to be brought to light, rather than being pushed aside, enabling white washing of British history to almost encourage, further racism from generations. Anita’s highlighting of such racist systemic events, are commendable. I know that shouldn’t be the case, but I can only imagine how difficult speaking up can feel, particularly in a systematically racist country, often in fear of your life, which is utterly abhorrent. • This is just an utterly empowering novel and I couldn’t recommend it enough, I can’t be more grateful that I managed to get my hands on an ARC. I would recommend this book to everyone, but I would also boost this to those of ethnic minorities or marginalised groups, it’s a great book if you feel alone. It touches on such important aspects including mental health following traumatic events (particularly hate crimes) and how nature can be such a healing and loving space in which to feel like you belong. Because you do, you do belong here, no matter your skin colour, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, you matter. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katheryn Thompson

    I've been looking forward to this book for a while, ever since I heard about its premise. After suffering a racially-motivated hate crime, Anita Sethi resolved to make a journey across the Pennines, the 'backbone of Britain', as an act of healing and reclamation. I think this is a fantastic idea, and a great concept for a book. I Belong Here isn't simply a chronological account of Sethi's journey. The basic premise of the book stands, as Sethi outlines the different stages in her journey, and sha I've been looking forward to this book for a while, ever since I heard about its premise. After suffering a racially-motivated hate crime, Anita Sethi resolved to make a journey across the Pennines, the 'backbone of Britain', as an act of healing and reclamation. I think this is a fantastic idea, and a great concept for a book. I Belong Here isn't simply a chronological account of Sethi's journey. The basic premise of the book stands, as Sethi outlines the different stages in her journey, and shares precious moments with us, but there is also an overarching story of Sethi's emotional journey. The book's sections, chapters, and even paragraphs flow beautifully, but they don't simply follow the linear progression of Sethi's physical journey. I loved the author's digressions, as she makes eloquent and impassioned arguments about the future of our world; the way we treat each other, and our planet. There is so much to treasure in this book, and I love how much of her thoughts Sethi shares with the reader. I only gave this one three stars instead of four (three stars for 'I liked it' as opposed to four stars for 'I really liked it'), because I would have preferred a stronger structure. I found my mind wandering a little, as Sethi sometimes drifted between ideas, or seemed to repeat herself. There are so many great ideas in this book, but I would have preferred them to be expressed in a more structured format. But that is purely personal preference. I am so glad that Anita Sethi made something so beautiful and inspiring out of her trauma, and I would definitely encourage you to give I Belong Here a read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sue Hayward-Ault

    My thanks to #NetGalley and #BloomsburyWildlife publishing for the opportunity to review this book.An interesting book but not for me. Beautifully written and researched but didn't hold my interest. Perhaps it's the downside of Black lives Matter. I know that racism is a problem and unfortunately it needs more education and basic kindness but at the moment I just feel its everything and everywhere. Not the naturalistic adventure I was expecting. My thanks to #NetGalley and #BloomsburyWildlife publishing for the opportunity to review this book.An interesting book but not for me. Beautifully written and researched but didn't hold my interest. Perhaps it's the downside of Black lives Matter. I know that racism is a problem and unfortunately it needs more education and basic kindness but at the moment I just feel its everything and everywhere. Not the naturalistic adventure I was expecting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    The different experiences are interesting and some moments are heartbreaking but the travelogue part, the political part and the personal trauma seems to be part of different books and I was a bit confused at times. It's full of interesting ideas but it was all mixed. Not my cup of tea. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine The different experiences are interesting and some moments are heartbreaking but the travelogue part, the political part and the personal trauma seems to be part of different books and I was a bit confused at times. It's full of interesting ideas but it was all mixed. Not my cup of tea. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bob Hughes

    I love writing about nature journeys, and I love political writing about identity, race and belonging, and this book is a fantastic combination of the two. Starting with a racist attack on a train and the death of a close friend, Sethi details how this formed part of her decision to follow the Wainwright trail through the Pennines to Hadrian's Wall. What follows is a beautiful, intriguing and luscious journey through nature, as Sethi reflects on how the natural world and the environment interact w I love writing about nature journeys, and I love political writing about identity, race and belonging, and this book is a fantastic combination of the two. Starting with a racist attack on a train and the death of a close friend, Sethi details how this formed part of her decision to follow the Wainwright trail through the Pennines to Hadrian's Wall. What follows is a beautiful, intriguing and luscious journey through nature, as Sethi reflects on how the natural world and the environment interact with notions of identity, belonging, nationhood, language and place. This becomes even more poignant when she starts reflecting on the racist attack and her friend's death, and how her walk through nature provides not only the mental break needed to process them, but also the numerous interactions with the people on her trip. Relying on the kindness of strangers allows her to begin to ease into her skin again, and feel a sense of belonging, and she describes beautifully how people of colour have a longer history in the UK than people often think, which responds excellently to her attacker, and you get the feeling that she is winning out by writing this. Her investigations into language and its connection to place are also fascinating. She weaves beautiful patterns between words used for natural phenomenon, like "fell", "force" and "scar", and their relationships to violence, and it feels like cathartic release as she details their definitions and applications in both worlds. It took me a little bit to get into the book, partly because I found the introductory section especially jarring. This was because it essentially gave a synopsis of the book in what felt like a rushed sprint through the entire plot and journey, never lingering long enough on anything, so that when the book began properly, the power of some of the earlier moments felt weakened. This meant that the beginning did not seem to strike much of a balance between the discussions of identity and the descriptions of environment, and felt as if it flitted between both. That said, once Sethi herself settles into the walking journey itself, the book fittingly settles into an even and powerful rhythm that drives this beautiful and important book forward, and it reaches a conclusion that is heartwarming, poignant, powerful and empowering. I received an advance copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gail Owen

    What a beautiful meander through the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in Northern England. Beautifully written, thought provoking and inspiring. I read this in one sitting and really couldn’t put the book down, every other page I encountered passages of text that evoked such emotion that I had read them out loud to my husband and share the experience. Anita Sethi documents her journey from childhood to the horrific racial abuse she receives on a train journey with such clari What a beautiful meander through the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in Northern England. Beautifully written, thought provoking and inspiring. I read this in one sitting and really couldn’t put the book down, every other page I encountered passages of text that evoked such emotion that I had read them out loud to my husband and share the experience. Anita Sethi documents her journey from childhood to the horrific racial abuse she receives on a train journey with such clarity and emotive language the reader is both moved and shocked. I belong here is a combination of nature writing, historical teaching and an observation of the misogyny and racism that runs deep still today in 2021 Britain. However, this isn’t a book that makes you feel hopeless, quite the opposite, Anita Sethi demonstrates clearly the power of language to confront, to call out discrimination. The book meanders between her personal story, description of walking in the Pennines, she intersperses history lessons and stories of the kindness of strangers. This format is reminiscence of any long distance journey or walk through nature and takes the reader on a virtual journey of their own, through history, nature and the glorious north. This seems to be Anita’s first full book, I do hope it won’t be her last. I received an advance copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review, many thanks. All opinions are my own

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nad

    I absolutely loved this book, and felt transported even in the middle of lockdown - which is just what I needed after not going anywhere for so long! I read it in one sitting and was totally absorbed by the beautiful writing, and the beauty of the language helps balance out some of the brutality the author explores about hate crime, racism, and inequality. I also loved how the book explores nature, walking and wildlife from the point of view of a person of colour. As a person of colour living in I absolutely loved this book, and felt transported even in the middle of lockdown - which is just what I needed after not going anywhere for so long! I read it in one sitting and was totally absorbed by the beautiful writing, and the beauty of the language helps balance out some of the brutality the author explores about hate crime, racism, and inequality. I also loved how the book explores nature, walking and wildlife from the point of view of a person of colour. As a person of colour living in the UK myself I've rarely seen this explored in the pages of the book. Reading I Belong Here was like inhaling a breath of fresh air - thank you for writing this important and beautiful book. With thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an advance reading copy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tanisha

    This books is about the impact of racism, hate crimes, loss and grief. It's an in-depth exploration of what it's like to be a minority in the UK and constantly questioned about whether you belong. The author walks the Pennine way and finds healing in nature. It's very in depth and contains lots of facts and figures about nature, climate change, mental health and racism. As a person of colour I was hoping to get lost in the story and feel closer to nature and feel a sense of belonging but the amo This books is about the impact of racism, hate crimes, loss and grief. It's an in-depth exploration of what it's like to be a minority in the UK and constantly questioned about whether you belong. The author walks the Pennine way and finds healing in nature. It's very in depth and contains lots of facts and figures about nature, climate change, mental health and racism. As a person of colour I was hoping to get lost in the story and feel closer to nature and feel a sense of belonging but the amount of facts and figures and repitition left me feeling disconnected.. Thanks to Bloomsbury for a copy in exchange for an honest review

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rhian Pritchard

    This is a very needed story, and I loved the nature writing in parts, but I just did not get on with the author's style of writing. This is a very needed story, and I loved the nature writing in parts, but I just did not get on with the author's style of writing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This could and should have been an amazing book and I think I want mostly to blame the editor that it is not. This may or may not be fair: Anita Sethi has previously been a writer of the short form, and this book was written and published firstly in the wake of a particular incident of thankfully successfully prosecuted racial abuse and secondly at a time of great (pandemic) stress, generally and for the author (she mentions losing her rented room and without using the word, is homeless for a ti This could and should have been an amazing book and I think I want mostly to blame the editor that it is not. This may or may not be fair: Anita Sethi has previously been a writer of the short form, and this book was written and published firstly in the wake of a particular incident of thankfully successfully prosecuted racial abuse and secondly at a time of great (pandemic) stress, generally and for the author (she mentions losing her rented room and without using the word, is homeless for a time). Some might think they can get away with describing the book as 'rambling' writing because the author is writing about 'rambling', haha. It's not rambling, it jumps and skitters and stutters which I think partly reflects a stitched together notes approach (which leads to some clearly not intentional repetitions and even grammatical errors) and partly an accurate and in some ways useful to the reader reflection of the author's state of mind. I don't think she is pretending otherwise but it makes for hard going at times and overall undermines the overall impact of the book. I did enjoy the somewhat journalistically styled focusing in on eg geology, word origins and I think she raises many important issues around race, colonialism, nature and belonging in an engaging way so that this is a book I would recommend to others despite its flaws. It's also an original work, distinct from many others about the impact of nature, of the outdoors, of walking. Superficially it is perhaps sometimes trite but fundamentally I feel it really isn't (whereas some other books prove the other way around) and I really want to hear more from her on all the subjects she touches upon, especially barriers to diverse access to the outdoors. She makes a very wise distinction between nature care and 'cure' - perhaps because she is someone so directly affected by such profound and systemic issues. She has every right to skate over some very serious issues in her past giving no more detail than she does - a sexual assault, continual racist abuse growing up in Manchester - but it is horrifying to speculate who may be the unnamed individual responsible for vicious physical and verbal abuse. There are some exasperations and things I wondered at: she refers to having travelled without items she was recommended to have because she 'couldn't afford' them and makes a similar reference to buying a second hand paper (unlaminated) OS map for similar reasons. Now it could be that for all sorts of reasons she was concealed her need from her friends, people who are thanked, or there were complications in organising it but I found myself irritated - were all these folk waffling on about literary matters and none of them thought to say "Here, you can borrow mine..."? She never really needs to be rescued on her walks and she's not exactly teetering up the fells in flip flops but I wasn't comfortable. I don't know if this points to shit friends or a more general problem of support networks which don't work, perhaps related to the issues she's examining in the book. Then again, she refers to the frequency with which she is cautioned by all and sundry against walking alone in the wilds, unreasonably in my view with the right basic equipment and a system for checking in (neither of which quite applies on the evidence provided)... and then accepts a lift she doesn't even really need, although the full evidence of the creepiness of the situation (which fortunately doesn't actually go anywhere nasty) isn't revealed until later. I'd've liked her ?impulsiveness ?desperation unpacking a little more. Because of the skittery nature of the book (and not really down to the slightly skittery nature of the journey or rather journeys, that was refreshingly unslavish and non-completist), it wasn't as successful as it might have been as place writing. Had I not had at least a passing familiarity with nearly all the places she visits, I think it could have lost me. However, the section of the book in which, climbing Pen y Ghent as a day walk in the company of a 12 year old she has met from a family in the midst of a divorce, they visit Hull Pot is a brilliant and moving piece of writing that will stay with me - the literal and the metaphorical experience both.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This review also appears on my blog at: https://livemanylives.wordpress.com/ There is a lot of talk about privilege and prejudice and a lot of arguing about whether they exist. There is a tendency for those with privilege to prefer to focus on what they have done to get where they are rather than how they were helped up before they even started, to discount the systemic struggles of others by highlighting the personal struggles of one’s own. Right at the start of I Belong Here you begin to see pri This review also appears on my blog at: https://livemanylives.wordpress.com/ There is a lot of talk about privilege and prejudice and a lot of arguing about whether they exist. There is a tendency for those with privilege to prefer to focus on what they have done to get where they are rather than how they were helped up before they even started, to discount the systemic struggles of others by highlighting the personal struggles of one’s own. Right at the start of I Belong Here you begin to see privilege in something as simple as the need Anita Sethi has to make that statement, “I belong here”, because she has had it questioned by others for so long. It is bad enough that anyone might experience abuse based on their race, to be told to “go back where you came from” even if you came from somewhere else, but how must it feel and impact you when the place you were born treats you with such venom? Here is a chance to understand. Throughout the narrative Sethi skilfully combines her journey as a woman of colour whose country has become a hostile environment with her journey through the wilder landscapes of that country experiencing its natural wonders on the Pennine Way. Both feed into her sense of identity, her connection to the physical place that she calls home and her rejection by at least part of the nation that overlays that land. As she travels through this beautiful backbone of the country, she recognises elements of her journey in its structure and evolution. The scars left on the land by violent ruptures in its past mirror her own and she finds strength. The Pennine Way shines throughout and Sethi brings it to life as she explores it through both her own eyes and those of people she meets along the way, Rori’s young enthusiasm for the landscape being particularly enjoyable. The author’s race is inevitably a key part of the narrative, as it is central to her relationship both to the land, which provides her with an escape from the anxiety that a history of racist abuse has created, and the nation, in which she was born but which regularly rejects her. It is a burden that takes compassion to understand, maybe Anita Sethi would like to be a nature writer in the mould of Nan Shepherd or Robert Macfarlane, but she cannot do that while racism remains such a fundamental part of our culture. We have reached a point in this country where “liberal” is an insult, where you are considered a traitor to the country if you question its history, are dismissed as an extremist if you value diversity and welcome the stranger as another expression of your own essence. It is a frightening atmosphere designed to create division and prevent cohesive scrutiny and accountability of power and it corrodes what it is to be human and to be alive. We need to create an atmosphere in which people are encouraged to share their stories honestly and we all pause to listen deeply. The present climate does not provide space for either as it encourages rage, division and an orientation of defence rather than compassion. If we collectively take a deep breath in which we seek to understand each other’s pain and anger then we may stand a chance of working through it and realising that we are all part of one whole. Maybe then, we can move forwards. I Belong Here will be published on 29 April 2021 by Bloomsbury Wildlife. I received an advance review copy via NetGalley.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katy Wilson

    I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is the tale of a journey - through the physical landscape of the Pennines and the North of England, and also through the experiences of the author who was attacked verbally on a train by a man who wanted her to feel hated, unwanted and unwelcome. Anita Sethi is a British writer born in Manchester. Her roots are deeply embedded in the North of England but because of her family tree stretching its branches to Kenya and to the Caribean and becaus I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is the tale of a journey - through the physical landscape of the Pennines and the North of England, and also through the experiences of the author who was attacked verbally on a train by a man who wanted her to feel hated, unwanted and unwelcome. Anita Sethi is a British writer born in Manchester. Her roots are deeply embedded in the North of England but because of her family tree stretching its branches to Kenya and to the Caribean and because she is a 'woman of colour', she has had to fight for her sense of belonging. There are forces in this world that try to exclude and diminish others and she is determined to stand up to them. The cultural wounds of racism and sexism damage us all but the day to day battle is felt most strongly by those whose voices are marginalised and often suppressed. This book is about walking, and taking space, and being heard and standing firm in the face of opposition. The healing power of Nature is the birthright of all living beings but there is a reality that for people of colour, the rural spaces are sometimes made uncomfortable by the white people that live there. Will that old man sitting on a bench at the foot of a mountain just hello or will he question my right to be here? As a white woman I do not have to consider this when I travel the country. As a woman I understand very well the need to be on alert. This book is a personal journey, and also an educational one. I found many interesting stories and facts that I didn't know. I didn't know that birds have magnetite in their beaks, nor that the North of England was once awash with tropical seas. I liked Ms Sethis's description of her journey as 'one of reclaiming both language and landscape' So much history and information, and the descriptions of places make me want to grab a map and plan a visit, It offers inspiration to take a walking trip, to walk oneself well. My one misgiving about this book was that sometimes I found the sentence structures clunky and it didn't flow well for me. I think it could have benefited from a stronger edit. The bumpiness I noticed, troubled my journey somewhat but didn't stop me moving along through an otherwise fascinating, moving and inspiring book. Let me finish on one of the many thought-provoking questions that the book invites us to answer: "Where were the first steps you took and what place did you most spend your early life walking through?" The major thing I enjoyed in this book was the author's raw honesty and courage in sharing her process of healing with the reader. She did what is always necessary but which is also always terrifying after an attack, she stood tall and spoke her truth and held her space. Walking through a wild landscape is deeply nourishing but each step is a brave one and sometimes we wobble, and sometimes we soar. Let me end on one of my favourite quotes : "Lichen is a survivor, growing even when the odds seem to be against any kind of flourishing, 'Be more like lichen', I think"

  30. 5 out of 5

    stephanie suh

    To tell a story within yourself is the sovereign right and natural privilege to be a human in an expanse of will wielded by the spirit of freedom. Storytelling is, in fact, a way of logotherapy that helps you find meaning in life from your daily tasks to your traumatic experiences by sublimating the pains of the heart to the blessings of the spirit, in the realization of Amore Feti. In this book, Anita Sethi shoehorns her experience of racism in England into a rivetingly ingenious travel memoir To tell a story within yourself is the sovereign right and natural privilege to be a human in an expanse of will wielded by the spirit of freedom. Storytelling is, in fact, a way of logotherapy that helps you find meaning in life from your daily tasks to your traumatic experiences by sublimating the pains of the heart to the blessings of the spirit, in the realization of Amore Feti. In this book, Anita Sethi shoehorns her experience of racism in England into a rivetingly ingenious travel memoir in the spectacle of a beautiful natural landscape where she belongs. Her narrative has a lyrical quality with a poet’s rhythm that reminds me of a Portuguese Fado song. Her words sing her story of an uneasy love relationship with her own country into a continuous fugue of love, betrayal, loneliness, and friendship vested with her experiences with people and nature. It is at once dolorous and enchanting as if to listen to a mysteriously elusive melody hummed by a ghost of a sad maiden who died in brokenheartedness. Yet, this doesn’t mean Sethi is a ghost damsel in distress bemoaning her betrayed love. She is a warrior who chose the pen to vindicate her attacker and other minor offenders of her South Asian ethnicity as a way to overcome her fear and anxiousness, arising from her ashes like Nietzsche’s noble phoenix. Sethi’s narrative then becomes a eulogy to the natural landscape of Great Britain; she finds an elbow room, a niche, her library of wonder. As Shakespeare pointed out, nature is exempt from public haunt, finds good in everything. It is a grand luxurious spa free of charge to all, although that is not always tainted by the malice of incivility on the part of humans. However, Sethi, in her story, asserts that no one can take away her right to belong in the beauty of nature and the country she regards as a home and proclaims her self-identity by telling her personal story incorporating the words into the images of British mountains and forests, exempting her from a malady of social ills and elevating her to the citizens of the Universe. The book is an excellent bedtime fellow when you want something thoughtful but not burdened with elements associated with scholarly apparatuses. The narrative is flowing melodiously, and the author’s spirit is within the texts, full of emotions but nuanced in her infatuation with the beauty of British landscapes that provide her with holistic healing power. They say you don’t protect what you don’t care about, and you don’t care what you have not experienced. To appreciate the value of this book doesn’t mean you have to be of a particular ethnicity, gender, or race. As long as you have taste and judgment universal in all humans, especially with a strong sense of empathy and a lover of nature, you will find her story alluringly gripping and feel her pains and loves as if they were your own.

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