Contents May Have Shifted

  • by <a href="" target="_blank">Esta</a>, Everett Public Library staff
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:10am
  • LifeA Reading Life

The quirky and unusual travel novel Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston takes you on a roller-coaster ride both around the world and through the author’s stormy relationships with men. Pam Houston is also the author of the hilarious Cowboys Are My Weakness, one of my all-time favorite books of the 90’s that captured the misunderstandings that happen when men and women try to communicate.

In Contents May Have Shifted, the author is not shy to admit that she is a travel junkie, and she captures the thrills of exploring cultural extremes in exotic locations including Tibet, Laos, New Zealand, Spain, and Tunisia as well as a jumble of places in the United States and Canada. The author describes some truly hair-raising experiences and tumultuous airplane flights. You may never feel cozy on a plane again after reading this book! On one flight they suffer a direct hit by lightning, and the jolly pilot announces that there is no need to worry since they need only one engine to land… as an electric-blue fireball crackles in the aisle.

Whether she is watching vultures sampling bodies during a “sky burial” in Tibet, or fending off a lusty man on a camel trip through the desert in Tunisia, Pam’s spirit of adventure always carries her through. Pam’s confidence and courage lead her to be bold in her relationships with all kinds of men, from ranchers to sensitive-New-Age-guy-types. Her unflagging sense of wry humor buoys her along, but she also does not shrink from tearing open her own heart and showing us the contents.

When she meets Rick he comes with excess baggage: a co-dependency with his annoying ex-wife who has changed her name from Sophie to “SoFree,” and his young daughter Madison. The wonder of this book is how well Pam can reveal her own multi-faceted emotions…jealousy, competitiveness, miscommunication, devotion…and the euphoria of the relationship when it is solid.

As she is swept up in her discoveries about the gentle trust and joy of a child, we see her as both confident and vulnerable. In the end, her life becomes a metaphor for womanhood today: can we “have it all” and enjoy our own achievement and adventure yet also have devoted loving relationships?

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globe nominations

“The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also collected a number of nominations.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Bustling Dublin offers big-city sights and Irish charm

The dynamic city has a great story to tell, and people who excel at telling it.

Most Read