Saturday Read: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I may be spoiled, but I’m a bit bummed that I didn’t travel this summer. It’s been 2 years since I’ve been overseas (I know, boo hoo, poor me) and I’m aching for an 8 hour plane ride. Again, I’ve been lucky in my travels, but can’t even stand to look at my friends’ pictures of their European vacations. Seriously, the green-eyed monster has got me bad. So, I’m turning to literature. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is set in Scotland (both in the 20th and 18th centuries!) and since Scotland is one of my favorite places on Earth, I decided it may soothe my travel envy.
Outlander is the story of Claire Beauchamp Randall, a military nurse who is vacationing with her husband in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. Claire sets out on her own one day and finds herself transported back in time to 1743. I know, it sounds strange, but stay with me! Claire immediately encounters Jonathon Randall, her husband’s ancestor, who turns out to be the opposite of the hero Claire and hubby thought. His nickname is “Black Jack” and he is as terrifying as he sounds. Claire is semi-rescued by another clan and finds herself taking care of Jamie Fraser, an injured soldier. Claire’s nursing experience comes in handy and she finds herself living with the clan, tending to their wounds and developing a romance with Jamie.
This is the 20th anniversary of Outlander! I mentioned to my mom that I was reading it and she said, “Oh, have you met Jamie yet?” I asked her if she enjoyed it when she read it and she replied that she had never read Outlander. Well that was confusing; how did she know about Jamie then? Turns out that 20 years ago, Jamie was a bit of a literary legend and the subject of many fantasies for the women who did read the book. I can’t believe that after 20 years, she still remembers her friends swooning over him! Just goes to show you how fantastic this book actually is.
Outlander is great adventure story. It’s quite different from most of the books aimed at women nowadays. Claire is not a shrinking violet – she’s a tough lady who throws herself into situations wholeheartedly. I hate reading a book about a girl who can never manage to stand up for herself or what she wants! Chick lit is full of accidental heroines, who seem to have no hand in their own fate and I’m sick of it. The writing is fast-paced and fun, albeit slightly hard to understand at times, as it is written with a Scottish accent. And as for the Scottish setting; it almost completely fulfilled my travel needs. Gabaldon doesn’t overlook the lush, Scottish highlands and the role that they play in the story.
I loved Outlander and definitely recommend it to you! It’s not only inspiring to see a young women who kicks butt, but may also inspire some Scotland-longings in you travel newbies.