Pen Hadow * Solo

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Interesting auto-biography of Pen Hadow who had attempted a few times to get to the North Pole but ends up creating a business with his wive’s help to bring others to what he couldn’t attain. Struggles for funding, issues with company PR, all topped by a strong desire to succeed against the odds.

It’s a bit more like “woe is me” type of book and “look at me, I’m amazing”. Hey, at least his wife was supportive! I would have loved a chapter from her point of view. I know he says she was OK with him leaving on a solo expedition on her 3rd month of pregnancy, but what woman wants to be the one to say – abandon your dreams, you have a family and a business to look out for.

It all screams about selfishness and a lack of care for others. And guess what, after he failed on his National Polar Express expedition, he gets his wife pregnant again and leaves for a third time, leaving her alone pregnant and with a toddler to care for.

At this point, I had little interest in his journey. I did like the talks about polar bears.

“Polar bear behaviour is essentially unpredictable. They may attack in complete silence and without warning but, particularly if aggravated by humans they will sometimes make hissing noises, growl or grind their teeth before launching an attack.”

“If you are confronted by a bear, do all you can do to disabuse the bear of the notion that you’re a seal. So never retreat towards lead or open water, because you’re doing exactly what a seal does”

“Don’t try to run away – you’ll never win the race and there’s nowhere to hide anyway on the sea ice”

Clive Cusler – Arctic Drift was better. The writing in Solo is devoid of metaphors, musings or even introspection. Here’s a self-centered guy who sacrifices everything in his life to fund his desire to reach the North Pole on his own (he did it multiple times with other people) because he promised his dad when he was dying. And because his nanny was shared with another expeditioner’s kid’s nanny.

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