Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hey, Soul Sister

Despite the somber nature of the solitude Ann and Liz experience, they become especially bonded to each other because of the heavy reliance on each other. I think this was a more intimate book in that respect because the emphasis placed on each member. If one member falters, it becomes significantly harder for the duo to go on. In contrast, Blum's team could suffer injuries with a bit more breathing room. Ann's shoulder injury tests the emotional and physical mettle of both her and Liz, and even though they have some heated arguments, they are able to persevere fairly well. Still, Ann is left with doubt that she has let Liz down by getting injured. She says, "Liv and I rarely spoke while we made camp, but that afternoon my silence was steeped in disappointment. I felt I had let Liv down. I knew it wasn't fair for her to have to tow both of us." (Bancroft 120) Both women take pride in their abilities and want to prove their autonomy. I thought it was particularly humanizing how Ann reacted bitterly to assistance from Liv. Both women show incredible resolve yet a sense of care.
We also are exposed to the intimate details of each skier's life in much more volume than in Blum's book because there are only two of them. We know how Liv met her husband and her three stepdaughters. We know how Ann was influenced by Pat in her childhood and how she came out as a lesbian. I really enjoyed the interweaving of personal background with descriptions of struggles of the expedition. Also, it was helpful to get a third party perspective, especially during the part where there seems to be impending disaster with the botched rescue that didn't need to happen, and thankfully never did.
I also was intrigued and floored by the cost of such an expedition. One telling scene is when Atwood breaks down into tears when Apple says they won't financially back the expedition, but they do end up donating $150,000 worth of technology. Also, the logistical issues of when to get flown in and where really could rack up the bill before they even hit Antarctica. Ann's prior expedition that left her in debt by $450,000 and paid off in seven years was very eye-opening.

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