David Schachne told me what I already knew. That anyone who would even go near Mount Everest and battle 18,000 ft elevations is either a masochist or a moron. And I say this knowing I get altitude sickness one foot over 12,000 feet above sea level. From the experiences the author had while trekking to the summit of Kala Pathar (elevation 18,192 feet), I think he would agree with me. Yet he also writes about the value of the challenge and fulfilling your dreams. That is the heart of his book. That is the part I took away from reading this entertaining story and why I found it a worthwhile read.
Schachne has a jaunty, also dark humor style in this book, which is mostly a travel diary. He has a pleasant style that looks back, to what must have been a difficult trip, with amusement and maybe just a little nostalgia. But he certainly took away any desire I had, of which there was little, to take a similar trek. I have learned more about Nepalese outhouses then I ever want to know and his depiction of food poisoning were a little too descriptive. But there are also sweet segments like his interaction with a poor but playful four year old girl oblivious to her poverty. I wish there were more scenes in the book like that.
The thing that makes this book different than others written about the same region is that it gives you a look at what the average person would experience on a commercial trek in the Himalayas. So if you are yearning to trek up a mountain in Nepal, you should read this book to get an idea what you will be up against. With a little luck, David will talk you out of it.