Read I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace Online


SIHPROMATUM (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first installment, I Grew my Boobs in China, is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother uSIHPROMATUM (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first installment, I Grew my Boobs in China, is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45; brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (I Grew my Boobs in China relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia), this is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her....

Title : I Grew My Boobs in China
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781479236657
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 376 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

I Grew My Boobs in China Reviews

  • Katy
    2019-06-02 01:42

    Book Info: Genre: MemoirReading Level: Young AdultRecommended for: Anyone who is interested in stories about travel experiencesAnimal things: girl has to give up all her pets (birds, hamsters, lizards, dogs...); graphic depiction of animal slaughterMy Thoughts: I'm not normally a person who reads memoirs, so this is a bit of a departure for me. However, the author has written this in a style like a novel, just telling a story, and it's very readable.The scene where Savannah had to give up Harrison made me just sob. I choked up again when they bade farewell to Baagii and Future as they left Mongolia. And now I'm extremely curious to hear what happened in Russia...I found this to be a very interesting book. I've always had wanderlust and have always wanted to travel, so hearing about these places to me was fascinating, and the author does a great job of giving the broad outlines of the landscape, and a stronger, underlying sense of the emotions it evokes. The idea of doing all this with a backpack and walking most of the time, though, is just a bit too hardcore for me. Probably because of how much pain I suffer when I try to walk pretty much anywhere! I was really impressed by the Mongolian people as described in this book, and their philosophy of taking care of anyone who needs it; their reasoning is if they help those in need, when they themselves are in need, then they can expect the same thing. It's very civilized, and this world needs more civilized behavior.I really, really enjoyed this book, way more than I thought I would. It's not perfect, I noticed a few minor copy editing issues, but the story is fascinating and it's obviously written with a lot of heart. I think anyone who likes true-life coming-of-age or travel memoirs, or just is interested in traveling in general, will find something to enjoy about this book. Don't hesitate to check it out, it's very enjoyable!Disclosure: I received an e-book copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.Synopsis: SIHPROMATUM (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first installment, I Grew my Boobs in China, is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45; brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (I Grew my Boobs in China relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia), this is a tale of feminine maturation—of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her.

  • Hunter Jones
    2019-06-06 01:15

    Wanderlust. It inspires us and shapes so many of our lives - whether we live it or inherit it, or just glimpse it from afar. Ms. Grace gives us valuable insight into her own personal views. Oh, to be so wise at such a young age. I admire Ms. Grace and her ability to share, thus the book gets a 5 star. Cheers! I greatly look forward to more from this author.

  • Ionia
    2019-05-27 02:15

    I dare you to read this book and not fall in love with it. Seriously, I dare you to. If you have been looking for a memoir that will make you smile, make you laugh and help you to look at the world through different eyes, this is surely the one to do it. The first portion of this memoir tells the story of the average teenage girl. She is somewhat insecure, has had plenty of experience being the new kid in town and is trying to settle into a rhythm in her young life. She loves her dog, her best friend and her family. A phone call changes all of her plans, when her mother decides they are going to travel through China and live out of a backpack for a full year. I could feel the devastation that young Savannah felt through her writing. She is very talented at expressing her memories and emotions through words and truly makes the reader feel as though they are right along beside her for the duration of the journey. What a journey it turns out to be--so many ways to experience all of your senses in this book!It was amazing to read about this girl and her family and how much she grew up and changed over the course of their adventures. The descriptive language she uses to tell of her surroundings and each new place they visit made this somewhat like watching a movie. You could smell the air and see the colours through her words. This is more than just a simple travel memoir. This is a story of spiritual and mental growth, physical change and family. Be careful when you read this, you might just want to sell everything you own and buy a sturdy backpack for your own adventure. One of the main things I enjoyed about this book was the humor. There is a thread of hilarity that spans the course of the story, and the author never loses the ability to make her reader feel warm inside even during the portions that are more serious. This is an excellent book from a talented author, and I recommend checking it out. You won't be sorry you did. On one final note--what a great title for a book!

  • A. Bookzilla.
    2019-06-04 19:29

    It took me forever to finish this, but it's only because life got in the way. Plus, I think I'm just not the target audience for it.First thing's first - this is a non-fiction book, a travel memoir of Savannah Grace's that she wrote out to read like fiction.Maybe it was because I knew it was non-fiction, but I just couldn't get into it as I would with a fiction book. I'm just not a non-fiction reader.Second, it's so hard reviewing a book based on real events that the author lived through. This is exactly why I don't read memoirs/autobiographies - every single complaint I could have about characters and their actions and decisions is a direct attack on author or someone they know, however mild or severe. So I won't do that.The story was sweet and eye-opening. Fourteen year old Savannah is informed by her mum that they're just up and leaving to travel the world for a year.To say that Savannah read like a true fourteen year old seems like a bit of an understatement. She was being a typical teenager - a rebellious, constantly complaining, my-life-is-ruined teenager. And that's all I'm saying about it.It may be because I'm twenty-six, but I find that I just can't get into reading books about and be in heads of fourteen year olds anymore and sympathize. I know, I'm heartless.What bothered me about this book is that the writing varied throughout. I can tell that the author has the story-telling gift, and she can certainly stand behind every word she wrote because she's lived it, but she kept switching between present and past tense, and this is something that I usually can't get over in books. Past or present - pick your tense.There were also a lot of ?!?!?!?!?!!?!?! and words written out in CAPS where they didn't have to be. A lot of Savannah's inner monologues written out. A lot of dialogue that felt stilted at times.If this is your kind of book, I say read it. It's got some wonderful descriptions of China and Mongolia any closeted (or not) traveler will love, and the characters ring true. It's a bit on the longish side.Will I be reading the next book? I just don't know. I guess I'll have to wait and see if I'm in the mood for it. At this moment, it seems unlikely.

  • John Rachel
    2019-06-10 03:26

    "I finally pushed through that barrier of stubbornness I’d always carried to see a new reality, one where I was unbelievably blessed by all the wonderful, positive things in my life. It was more than just an abstract concept, as if all the colours of the spectrum simultaneously blended into a white light that burst through my soul. I felt as pure as the crystal waters below..." What beautiful writing! This young author with this amazing debut has a great future.This book was particularly engaging as I have traveled and lived in 21 countries over the past six years. This portion of her adventure concluded in Mongolia, which I have had a desire to visit. After reading her account, it is an 'absolute must see' on my itinerary.I am truly looking forward to the sequels to "Sihpromatum - I Grew My Boobs in China".

  • Aubrey
    2019-06-08 01:30

    I picked this book because it fit the "read a book about a place that you have always wanted to visit" part of my reading challenge for this year. I am so glad that I made that choice. Savannah is wonderful writer. The pictures that her words paint are priceless. I am so glad that I was able to "visit" a place I have always wanted to go, and I didn't have to eat the hairy biscuits while I was there. Thank you Grace family for sharing your amazing adventures.

  • Eline
    2019-06-06 19:22

    Wauw! This is the first book in a long while that thaught me a lot while it also offered me a great and entertaining read. Normally I find books with true stories rather boring. This time it was different. Though Savannah Grace tells us a story about the big journey she and her family made, this wasn't a dull diary or something like that. It was a funny, well writen, interesting book that invites you into a new world and encourages you to read further and further and to travel further and further with the lovely family of Savannah Grace.At the age of 14, Savannah is a very normal girl with a normal life. She does normal things, goes to a normal school,... All of that changes suddenly when Savannah's mother is sick and tired of all this normality in their lifes. After her husband left her she feels like doing something for her own. Instead of buying some expensive things or redecorate their house, she wants to go on a journey. A big one... A journey through several countries. A journey that will take a year to complete. While Ammon and Bree, her siblings, are excited and curious about the biggest step they'll probably take in their lifes, Savannah hates every little thing about it. She doesn't want to discover the world. She wants to discover the "normal" world around her, boys, new friends,... Selling their house, leaving everything behind, quiting school for a year,... Did her mother become crazy? Savannah believes she does, but eventually she does everything asked of her and she joins her family on the biggest field trip ever. The countries chosen by their mother and brother Ammon aren't the easiest ones to start with. Faced with poverty and other cultures this American family learns to appreciate life in a totally different way. They learn what's important in life and how people with nothing can give you the most. They learn how every stranger is a friend you still have to meet. They learn the taste of wool in cookies. Lessons they couldn't learn at school.What I liked the most about this book is how recognisable Savannah writes about her feelings through this journey. I think I would react the same way as she did... not so happy to leave everything I know behind, give my dog away to people I don't know, live from a backpack, sell my house, leave school and know I'm gonna get behind,... But eventually I would appreciate this opportunity too. It's lovely to read how Savannah experiences several opposite emotions throughout this journey. Some days she's excited and happy with everything she gets to see. Other days she's scared, feels lonely and just wants to eat something normal. This book is a great mix of all sorts of things and that makes it an interesting and fun read!I recommand this book to everyone and when you read it, you should check the blog of the family too. It provides some cool pictures you can link to the story while reading. Blog:

  • J.P. Bary
    2019-05-24 19:30

    When I was 11 years old, I took a year long tour through the orient and around the world with my parents. So I could immediately identify with both the author's discomfort when the frenetic pursuit of acceptance among her friends was interrupted and with the more mature sense of her identity that emerged as she learned how to accept, and become accepted by, many new and different friends in her journeys through China and Mongolia. This is a book that many a parent will be inclined to give to a child who is about to be relocated or otherwise separated from friends or family for an extended period. But it is also a book that the parent might gain from as well --not in the way one takes vicarious pleasure in the breathless depictions so many travel writers make of foreign lands, but as a way of connecting with what a teenager really experiences in an extraordinary physical and emotional journey.As a 14 year old, Grace was not a well-trained observer of foreign cultures as she made her trip. Nor does she attempt to imitate the polished literary style so valued in the genre of travel books. Rather it is her uncanny knack for chronicling her travels without hype and her own concerns without pretense that makes this book unique. So few dare to write books about their teenage years while they are still young enough to avoid the urge to sweep their everyday concerns under the rug and place all their experiences in an evaluative context. It is the forthright chronicling of her own fears, confusions and small pleasures that allows Grace to speak with authenticity to young and old alike. So much that is recorded about travel is stylized, like the tourist photos all taken in the same places; even the adventuresome tend to bring home only confirmation that what they have previously read or heard about the places they visit is true. It's refreshing to have an account that so faithfully records the untutored reactions between people with vastly different life experiences. Her marvelous dialog creates a cast of characters whose emotional journey rivals the extraordinary explorations they make through remote places.

  • Marla
    2019-05-23 03:21

    I Love SIHPROMATUM. I can't put it down. Right now we're having goat soup in a get in Mongolia. YUCK. I am so In love with each of you individually and as a family. Savannah, 15 years old, writes with mirth and such enlightened depth the longer and farther she is from their home in BC Canada -- and yet she includes so much cultural and descriptive information about their experience, I can visualize each scene in my mind. I am recommending it to my friends, but honestly, I didn't know how to say SIHPROMATUM or what is meant. so I wrote to Savannah Grace, after reading her tribute to older brother, Ammon, and I asked her...What a cool family, what a great adventure. Congratulations! I am living my dreams through your most enjoyable book. I can't wait for the next one in, hopefully, October!!

  • Linda
    2019-05-27 20:14

    Very interesting and well written for a 15 year old. I suspect I will enjoy the sequels more as Savannah matures.

  • Julie
    2019-06-06 21:32

    Insightful writing of a teenager pulled away from a comfortable life deep into the tricks of a year-long travel. Frustration, complaints are a big part of the first chapters since Savannah first didn't want to go. It feels great to then see her point of view change and open up on what life truly is once we step out of our bubble. A read every parent should offer to their kids if they plan or not a long trip. Life is out there!

  • Mindy
    2019-06-09 20:31

    I very much enjoyed reading this real adventure, but I am not sure I am cut out for this type of traveling. A little bit too rustic for me!Looking forward to the next book.

  • Julia
    2019-06-10 21:35

    I love this enchanting memoir/travel book by Savannah Grace. She is 14 as the book begins in 2005, when her tranquil life in Vancouver, Canada takes an abrupt change. After her parents’ divorce, Savannah’s mother decides to sell everything to backpack through China and Mongolia for a year with Savannah and two of her three siblings: Bree, 17, and Ammon, 25. Savannah suffers the emotional trauma of leaving everything behind—friends, a comfortable lifestyle, her adored dog—for the unknown. Yet she comes to see this journey as sihpromatum, a blessing that initially appears as a curse. It is beautifully written, the authentic, tender story of a young teen blossoming with maturity beyond her years. Savannah has an enormous talent for storytelling. Her insights and observations are often wise, and at other times, comical, yet always believable for a young teen. We see the world unfold through Savannah’s young eyes, yet she also provides the historical, cultural and political perspectives of her older brother, Ammon. Savannah’s sense of scene is spot on, putting the reader right there beside her, seeing the sights, smelling, tasting, experiencing the strange and unusual, so different from what she and we are used to. Without judgment, she tries to understand the differences in cultures, to pare down to essentials, to the humanity we share. One of her anecdotes that I love, that reveals her inquisitive and compassionate nature, is when they travel to a remote school where their guide teaches. The local children have never seen westerners like Savannah and her family. She is timid at first then the whole family plunges in to have a true and joyous connection with the children that the reader feels. This is such a delightful book, with beautiful reminders to see the world with Savannah’s compassion and respect for others. Money, trappings of success do not matter: it is humans who matter and despite many cultural differences, we share the same longings, fears, dreams, and desire for understanding. Savannah doesn’t spare unsettling details. We fully feel her disgust at makeshift toilets, of unusual food, her long hours of painful travel, the blisters and sore muscles, the dirt and lack of showers, the incredible trials of traveling for long hours squished up against strangers. Yet there are also her achievements, of challenging herself to keep up with her family, and be a trouper. There are wonderful moments when she feels her part in the universe, and her love of her family, sibling annoyances and bickering aside. Savannah doesn’t change, all the elements are within her: her intelligence, wit, natural charm, innate kindness and compassion and the insight that can only come from one who has a good heart and solid morality and ethics from her family. At the end of this book, what lingers for Savannah is the generosity of strangers, the many people who helped her family along the way, the families who had welcomed them into their homes, “none of them expecting anything in return. I couldn’t forget their bountiful generosity despite their limited means.” I came away very much liking Savannah, seeing her goodness and warm spirit and knowing such beauty/goodness comes from a loving family. Her website and twitter account are great fun to read, keeping me up to date, even her meeting up with Baagii from Mongolia after ten years separation. I look forward to reading more by Savannah Grace.

  • Sheila
    2019-06-03 02:20

    I don’t usually enjoy memoirs, but this YA book pulls you in straight away, fueled by a reluctant teen traveller’s abrasive moods, a quality writer’s powerful and evocative descriptions, a perceptive young woman’s attention to lessons learned, and all the wonder and excitement of backpacking through Asia. Beautifully written sensory details transport the reader simultaneously to the far side of the world and into the mind of a fourteen-year-old girl, and the book becomes a journey filled with interest, excitement, fun, and the joys of discovery.In 2005, fourteen-year-old Savannah did not want to take a year out of school, nor leave her friends, nor forget the boy who just might one day be interested in her, nor live out of a backpack for a year. But her mother has made her decision, and now two sisters, one older (and well-organized) brother, and their mom set out for Honk Kong, China, Mongolia and beyond.At times I was amazed at the things Savannah’s sister didn’t seem to know. At other times the breadth of her brother’s knowledge surprised me instead. But Savannah is the star as well as the narrator of her tale, a young woman learning to see the world anew, honestly changing and growing (not just growing boobs), and becoming a narrator who can hold her readers glued to each passing page.Facts are interwoven seamlessly into glorious vistas as the family walk, talk, sleep and eat together... and go to the bathroom—ah the wonders of Chinese bathrooms! The tone is perfect, the descriptions vivid and real, and the characters become almost friends—“friends that haven’t met,” says Savannah as she thinks of the Mongolian attitude to strangers, and what such an attitude might mean if the rest of us would dare adopt it.By story’s end, I want to know where the family went next, but I’m happy to have spent these pages in their company and seen them safely off as their journey continues. This book is irresistible for its inner and outer journeys and everything in between—just great fun and a wonderful read.Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy by the author with a request for my honest review. I can honestly say I loved it—I just wish I’d got around to reading it sooner.

  • Alison
    2019-06-11 01:14

    I just finished this story that was so much fun to read, and I am already looking forward to the next installment of their travels. The author the youngest of this family that is traveling the world is 14 when the books starts, and it takes us on their adventures through China and Mongolia. I love the start of the title- “Sihpromatum” which is defined as (a blessing that first appears to be a curse), and this is exactly what it was for the author. I the beginning we definitely can feel the angst of this young girl, who feels like she is being torn from all that is familiar and precious to her, as she unwilling sets out on this journey. This is not like a lot of travel memoirs that I have read, it actually feels much more intimate, as the author writes so descriptively about her feelings and family, you almost feel like you are there with them. You sense so well their connections to each other and she describes each one of them with humor and love, giving us a look into each of their personalities. The brother, Ammon, is the eldest of the sibling at 25 and the self proclaimed leader, he is like a walking encyclopedia and is a wealth of information, which I also appreciated as I learned a lot about the different areas they visited. Her elder sister, a confidant and ally to her and her Mom, the person who holds them together. Through their journeys we see the trails and tribulations of travel in these areas along with great descriptions and a lot of humor. Savannah definitely has the gift of being an entertaining writing, her descriptions of the terrain, the people, the smells and taste, whatever it may be, are very vivid and spoken from her heart. Here is a link to their website where you can go and see photos of what they are describing.

  • Nicole
    2019-06-01 23:34

    Wow!!!!!! This book is amazing!!! Lately (before reading this book) I was stuck and couldn't find any really good books... This is by far my favourite book of all time! Awesome story. Really cool to think about the fact that this isn't fiction, this is really what happened!! I love that! Savannah is so nice, meeting her and staying in touch is great! Being able to read a book and talk to the author is incredible! It's also great to be able to look at pictures (! One of the many things I loved about this book is the fact that it's a young teens view on the world and different cultures. Me being around the same age Savannah was during the trip makes her thoughts very relatable. Anyways I could talk about this book for hours. Three words to finish off... READ THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kelli Buchanan
    2019-05-18 20:23

    After Her parents get divorced Savannah's mom decides she needs a change in her life. She decides to take three of her children on a year long trip. They sell all they're things and get rid of the pets and pack up and go. This is Savannah's take on the trip. They story which is non fiction is about the first leg of the trip. It kept me interested and I learned quite a bit as well. I was very impressed by the families ability to adapt to the ever changing conditions and customs of the many laces they visited and the descriptions were very graphic and made me want to visit and not visit at the same time. Either way I enjoyed the book tremendously. I look forward to the next installment of her trip.

  • Bondjennings
    2019-06-12 00:39

    The thing I think I appreciated the most about this book was Savannahs honesty. She doesnt relay the past as though she enjoyed every moment of it and never once complained about how hard it was to leave everything behind and travel through countries without flushing toilets, cold water, and english speakers. It was very refreshing. She does a great job of not only expressing her own feelings but also the perspective of her brother, mother and sister - each with a cery different outlook from the others. With very detailed descriptions of the landscapes, cultures, and people she comes across this book was a great, informative, and fun read.

  • Colleen Ray
    2019-06-12 21:33

    Loved this! Although it's written from the perspective of a 14 year old girl, it doesn't read like a YA book. It's well-structured and tightly written, and the author doesn't take herself or her travels too seriously to be a fun read. I wasn't ready for the journey to end, and can't wait till the next installment is released. Highly recommended.

  • Samantha
    2019-05-25 00:23

    The imagery has me wanting to grab my back pack and hit the road again! The insights, the growth, the prose, the accounts of a traveller are true, deep and inspiring. To be able to have the opportunities Savannah were given, however reluctant to accept them, could make any traveller jealous of those lost year!

  • Helene
    2019-06-17 22:31

    Interesting story of divorcee taking kids toAsia on the cheap.

  • Marilee
    2019-06-15 23:38

    I am now hooked on travel/backpacking true story adventures. What a great way to travel to new places around the world!

  • Michelle
    2019-05-26 02:29

    I want to quit my life and see the world. I loved this book!

  • Suzanne
    2019-06-13 02:40

    Description according to Goodreads: "SIHPROMATUM (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first installment, I Grew my Boobs in China, is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure."Ms. Grace was 14 years old when her mother announced they would be selling everything and embarking upon a backpack trip beginning in China.  It was the last thing Savannah wanted and like most teens who are forced to do something they don't want to do, she struggled to accept this new travelling life.I love to travel, but quite frankly, I did feel sorry for this girl.  This isn't normal, safe travelling.  This is bare-bones, we have no money kind of travelling.  Yes, some teenagers do this, but generally when it's their own decision and also by males who don't have the same safety issues as females.  But Ms. Grace gradually came around and tried to find some positives about the trip.Mostly, I enjoyed hearing a reluctant teen's perspective on life in the poor areas of China.  It's quite the culture shock.  And a teenager will often comment on things an adult might leave out.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the "sleeper" buses, the food, the bathrooms and her interactions with the locals.  It's not a great work of literature, but it's worth reading - especially since armchair travelling of this sort is far more comfortable than the actual experience!

  • Pam
    2019-06-03 23:35

    ExcellentI was a bit apprehensive about reading this, but once i started, i just couldn't stop. The journey is quite amazing and interesting, very descriptive and captivated me. Just an excellent read!!

  • Jack Moscrop
    2019-06-09 23:17

    A wonderfully vivid portrait of a family hitting the road. Not everyone is born a traveler. But that doesn't stop some from becoming hardcore nomads. This story is an expressive example of such a transformation. Each page of this family upping sticks for life on the road is packed with emotional highs and lows written with deep honesty and startling clarity. Savannah holds nothing back. I have never world traveled with my paternal family like this but reading Savannah's story I felt like I was experiencing it for real. The bit about Harrison, Savannah's dog, brought a tear to my eye (there's lots of bits that made me smile too!). This book is a great story about a young person, looking for an identity, thrown into a world of possibilities.

  • Luanne Ollivier
    2019-06-09 20:35

    3.5/5 Sihpromatum: A blessing that initially appears to be a curse.Vancouver, Canada: Fourteen year old Savannah thought it was the end of the world when her newly divorced mother (Maggie 45 yrs.) decided that she would pull her two daughters (Breanna 17 yrs.) out of school and travel for a year. Accompanying them would be already seasoned traveller - older brother Ammon, 25 yrs. "We were going to pack up everything, we were going to travel around the world, and we were going to live out of backpacks - for a whole year!" May 05/05. The Watkins load up their backpacks and head to Hong Kong, China and on to Mongolia. (That's just the first three months covered in this first book.) Sihpromatum is told from 14 year old Savannah Grace's viewpoint. The first chapters deal with typical teenage angst - leaving at a time when cliques, boys, parties and mall shopping take priority in an adolescent's life. And I had to stop and remind myself of that when I read of her reluctance to go on this adventure. I was reading with older eyes and could only see this as an amazing opportunity and adventure.There is a chapter in the beginning written from Maggie's view, which led me to think we might hear from the rest of the family throughout the book, but that was not the case. Although you can read entries written by all the family members on their blog - Escape the Good Life. What we do get is a realistic recounting from a young pair of eyes, seeing the world - literally- for the first time. New food, uncomfortable toileting situations, cultural shock, travel conditions that aren't cushy and more. But slowly but surely, cracks start appearing in her self absorption...."In my half-asleep state, something within me awakened, and I felt the most calming form of peace imaginable. For just an instant, I let go and peered curiously though that doorway of exciting possibilities, but it was one I was not yet ready to step through." But she does step through and starts embracing the potential and opportunities that this adventure offers. Descriptions of the sights seen are intriguing, but it is the experiences with the people they met that proved to be the most interesting for me. Family dynamics and interactions also play a large part in this travel/coming of age memoir. By the time the family hits Mongolia (and the Gobi Desert!) Savannah ..."finally pushed through that barrier of stubbornness I'd always carried to see a new reality, one where I was unbelievably blessed by all the wonderful, positive things in my life. I knew that despite my age, my inexperience, and the minimal impact I had made on the world thus far, I would no longer be able to resist or ignore this new comprehension of my place in it." And the title and cover blurb "How an unwanted journey forced me to see the world with open eyes" fall into place. Be sure to check out the slide show of this journey on YouTube. It really brings home what an absolutely amazing odyssey this family has undertook, both as individuals and as a unit. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. I'm in awe - and of Maggie especially. Last we see them, they're on a train headed to Russia. This is just book one - the family's one year adventure stretched to four years. At the writing of this review, Savannah has visited 99 countries on 5 continents....

  • Melissa
    2019-05-27 00:38

    I was a bit skeptical about reading this book because of the title originally as it seemed gimmicky. But I'm glad I went ahead and decided to read it as it turned out to be quite interesting and enjoyable. And since it is the first of a few books about the trip, there's a lot of adventure to be had in the series.At the age of 14, Savannah is told by her mother that they are going to get rid of everything (including beloved pets) and go backpacking around the world for a year. As to be expected, Savannah is less than enthused at the thought of leaving her friends and pets behind but she doesn't have a choice and soon finds herself starting the travels in China with her older brother and sister and her mother (one brother does not join them due to his work). As they trek through China, experiencing sleeper trains and more, she slowly starts to shed the distaste she has for the trip and starts enjoying herself. They also, in this book, explore Mongolia as well.Savannah has a large family and a seemingly close one. I do have to say that I'm not sure if her descriptions of them are entirely fair or accurate at times. Her mother gets an ok description but her brother comes off as a jerk many times. Now maybe he is kind of a jerk or maybe Savannah was trying to portray him through her (at the time) fourteen year old eyes. To be fair though, she did say a lot of good about him as well and he was the one who seemed to shoulder a lot of the responsibility of the trip. Her sister, who is older than Savannah, seems to act a lot younger in the book. And again, this could be accurate but it is hard to say. She certainly was a go getter despite how mature she acted though and very athletic. As for the local people she met, they were wonderfully described. I never tired of hearing how helpful and kind Savannah found them and the different things she learned from them. And her descriptions on their way of life were very informative and eye-opening. And Savannah herself is shown to grow through the book, in attitude and maturity.For a "new" writer, Savannah has a great way with words and the book is well written. I would have liked to see more detail on the sights themselves, but there was still enough there to keep me interested and I always wondered where they were headed next. I am jealous of everything she got to see and if I didn't have pets to take care of, would have been tempted to go off backpacking on my own. But maybe someday. Her tale is a compelling one and to be uprooted at her age and get used to things you weren't familiar with would be tough. But she definitely overcomes her initial aversion to everything and seems to have the time of her life and her experiences are sure to stir the travel bug in anyone. Some pictures would have been really nice in the book, but there is a link to her website where you can see a ton of them, and it was nice to put faces to names and see some of the different areas she visited.An interesting travel memoir. I'm eager to see what the next one will bring. This book deserves a very solid 4.5 star rating as it was well written and will appeal to all sorts of travelers or armchair travelers.**This book was received as a Free Advanced Reviewer's Copy**SihpromatumCopyright 2012362 pagesReview by M. Reynard 2013 More of my reviews can be found at

  • Jeanette Mallet
    2019-06-13 22:15

    Can you imagine swimming in mud? Sleeping in a room the size of a king-sized bed? Or, sleeping on a bus with a bed? Savannah Grace has done all of these things and more.In her first book, Sihpromatum, Savannah tells her true story of backpacking across the globe. At fourteen years old, Savannah is shocked when her mother decides to surprise her family with a year long backpacking journey.From the outset, Savannah is dead set against the idea, but even her anger can’t stop it from happening. Before long, her family home is packed up and her beloved pets are given away. Savannah and her family then dive head first into a wonderful journey. This book relates the voyage of a naïve, teenage girl, whose adventures teach her about the harsh realities of life for most of the world’s people.Sihpromatum is a wonderful book. Its simple prose exposes both the harshness and the beauty of life on the road. Before I read this book, I would have been against backpacking, just as Savannah was at the time. Having read the book, however, I now think otherwise and might even embrace the opportunity…As a fourteen-year-old girl, I can perfectly relate to the feelings Savannah describes in Sihpromatum. She talks about her fear of not fitting in, and the worry that she might not be pretty enough, which most teenagers can probably relate to. What’s interesting, though, is the way Savannah’s trip teaches her to see things differently.Her journey begins in Hong Kong, where the family spends its first night overseas sleeping inside the airport. The hotel they find the following day provides little improvement over the airport floor, considering their room barely accommodates a king-sized bed. Savannah’s family spends the next week exploring Hong Kong and are able to survive, thanks to a little help from a friend they meet along the way.Later, the family continue their adventures by traveling across China and visiting a variety of sites via routes that are well off the beaten track. The family’s adventures take them to tourist sites, such as Tiger Leaping Gorge and the Moon Water Caves. However, they also get a taste of local living. Everything, from the accommodations and food to the unappetizing toilet facilities, is different from the comfortable life Savannah was accustomed to back home in Vancouver.Despite the challenges, our heroine gradually warms to the journey and the many friends she and her family meet along the way. From China, Savannah heads into Mongolia, where (amongst other things) she and her family get stranded on a jaunt through the Gobi Desert, a frightening experience they are not likely to forget.Sihpromatum is a travelogue and a personal journey that is filled with ups and downs. The book is bound to make you laugh out loud and bring tears to your eyes. It is an enjoyable and entertaining read from beginning to end.Our Verdict: Sihpromatum would be a fantastic choice for holiday reading and is an absolute must-read for anyone considering a family backpacking adventure.

  • Temujin Hu
    2019-05-31 02:16

    A Wonderful, Beautiful Coming-of-age StoryI absolutely loved this story, and it’s not even the type of story I typically read. Savannah Grace tells a beautiful story of her family’s experience on a backpacking trip that began when she was fourteen and started in China. Grace’s description of the sites and experiences are rich and inspire the imagination, and since I’ve been to China I very much identified with her experiences and observations. However, what really got me was the story of her metamorphosis. She started the journey as a reluctant, even angry little girl very much accustomed to the comforts of modern life, but the trip transforms her into a soon-to-be mature woman. From little things like realizing how many books her family put in her bag (“These criminals put BOOKS in my bag!!”) to her falling in love with reading Gone with the Wind, it was so touching. Reading how she recognized the differences in other cultures was entertaining and a learning experience, from noting the place that appeared to be a pet shop was actually a grocery store to watching a building get constructed by multitudinous workers with almost no technology, seeing how Chinese students respect teachers and recognizing the plight of poor beggars. I very much enjoyed reading about how her family took note of what truly matters in the countries they visited, from being more allured by the quaint lifestyle of villagers than the tourist attractions to realizing the great cost of lives that went into building the Great Wall. Then there were the coming-of-age moments when she realized who her real friends were—and what it means to be a real friend, recognizing the struggle her mother must have had in the divorce and wanting to be a support for her for a change, reminiscing about times at home and not having as much as her friends, and finally the beginning of her recognizing childish attitudes while in Mongolia and wanting to put them aside. The lessons she learned about getting through life by living as a backpacker were humorous and enlightening. Learning that the difference between travelling as a backpacker is a community experience while the tourists are come-and-go and on their own, feeling like a homeless nomad in Mongolia and that surviving often means accepting strangers as friends, and her family’s near-death experience getting stuck in the wilderness of Mongolia that taught her to appreciate all the little comforts life has to offer.Grace’s story is endearing, touching, heart-warming, inspiring, and begs for the journey to continue. I can’t wait to read the sequel and follow her family’s continuing adventure around the globe. Sihpromatum is a tremendous read, I highly recommend it.