The book said, "New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. New Zealand's population has a hundred thousand fewer men than women." and thus, Jamie, a 26 year old woman makes an impulsive decision to leave her life in California behind to go explore a new country
and start afresh in New Zealand. She has had a bad track record with men and wants to stay miles away from one and so comes to this new country with nothing but a suitcase, a backpack and a pillow!
"I landed in the dark, with one suitcase, a backpack, and a pillow."
Alone in the new country where everything is way different, even the language they speak though it is English seems like another language with 'e' becoming an 'i' while pronouncing etc. and where words have different meanings than in America and different words denote things like "Elevator" is lift, "garbage" is "rubbish", "cookies" are "biscuits", "to call" is "to ring", "chips" are "crisps", "sweater" is "jumper" etc.
She is faced with numerous challenging situations and has to constantly adapt to suit to her new life. Written in a diary form, this is a true account of Jamie's stay in New Zealand. The first thing that struck me as worth complimenting is her bravery in publishing her memoir as close to the real experience as possible. She did not try to make it more "politically correct" or add more spice to enhance the reader's interest like adding more glitz to her days there, fabricating adventures, more romance thrown in etc. I also loved the book cover which is very eye catching and innovative. :)
Getting Rooted in New Zealandis by far the most difficult book to review because I just couldn't make up my mind whether I liked the book or not as some parts amused and entertained me greatly while there also were parts that appalled me and left me thinking if really people like the ones described like the girl who wore her dead dog's collar and scenarios like the ones narrated were possible. I like Jamie's honesty but also disliked her somewhat uncaring attitude towards her friends and people around in some parts in the book. At some places I felt I really sympathized with her for I could understand her home sickness and the adverse situations with cultural, language and behavior differences she had to face in New Zealand while in other parts I questioned myself why did she stay if she was so unhappy? she could easily have gone back to her country (that is before she met her one reason to stay in New Zealand. :) ). Also sometimes I felt since she was feeling homesick and unhappy so she saw more bad than was really present.
I really loved her descriptions of New Zealand's beauty.
"I'm not sure if it's because of the hole in the ozone, but all the colors here seem more intense, like looking through polarized lenses. I see rainbows almost every day. New Zealand really is a beautiful country."
and also connected with her plight of working a boring and stagnant job in a cubicle.
"My cubicle is killing my soul. I want to do something that matters, something that has a positive impact on the world. I want to be creative. I don't want to be a tool in the system... Everyone seems perfectly content to be sitting in their gray cubicle in their gray clothes. I'm not."
"This job is soul crushing. It's getting harder and harder to come to everyday. I feel really depressed since I started this job."
A honest memoir of New Zealand which is an noteworthy effort from Jamie Baywood.Getting Rooted in New Zealandis a book which will entertain you, make you laugh, make you sad and sometimes also appall you but nevertheless keep you engaged and turning pages to read more. An account of how a directionless woman traveled to a distant and unknown country to find her destiny and got her life under control after many adversities, some very soul crushing experiences and finally a pleasant surprise.
"A strong sword is made by pounding a piece of hot iron and bringing out its impurities. Likewise, we can develop an unbreakable, solid self by squarely confronting and overcoming obstacles."
A 3.5 out of 5 to Getting Rooted in New Zealand. It is a light, easy read but should not be seen as a guide to your New Zealand travels.
I received the book from the author and I am very thankful to her. The above review is my honest and unbiased opinion and in no way influenced.