Book Review: Anywhere But Home - Anu Vaidyanathan


The will to win is nearly not so important as the will to prepare to win

--Vince Lombardi 
(From the Anywhere But Home by Anu Vaidyanathan)

Let's be clear. I'm not a sports-anything. I'm a crawl into your bed and read books under the covers while you sip your hot coffee person. Yes, I'm really a cat disguised as as actual person. So of course, reading a book about a (absolutely amaze-balls) sportswoman was a match made of contradictory emotions. I love reading a book so that's right up my alley but reading anything related to sports isn't my forte. So imagine my surprise when I couldn't put this book down. Also, I won't really talk about Anu Vaidyanathan and her well known achievements in this review (you can read about that here first if you're curious). I'm going to talk about what the book represents to me.

Anu Vaidyanathan is a essentially a goddess in my book. She writes the way she speaks (not that I've spoken to her but a girl can dream right?) and that's honestly the best kind of writing there is. The book is about her journey from the dusty lanes of Bangalore where she trained to the picturesque mountains where she competed in various Triathalons and other equally (crazy in my book) races.
The book does exactly what the cover promises, its literally an adventure in endurance. The writing brings to life the mental endurance that is a lot more important than physical endurance in many cases. I've always felt that most books about sports don't talk enough about the turbulence a person goes through in trying to achieve any goal-big or small.

One of the early parts of the book deals with Anu's disillusion with academia and its hidden red tape. She decides to quit her PhD program in order to come back and start working on her own venture. While I'm nowhere close to as gutsy as her, this part resonates with a lot of events in my recent life.
Of course, there's also the nicest little bit where she finds herself holding conversations with trees more than people. Honestly, I've been there and the book gives such insight into how difficult it is to work to achieve something when just about two people (thanks to all the supportive mom and dad's out there) support you and the only fuel you've got is your determination and passion.

 Truly, the journey fascinates and inspires. While the book may be about a sport, its got enough everyday problems and inspiration to help any person with lofty goals. I found myself reading slower and slower as I neared the end of the book, almost as though I didn't want the story to end. This obviously meant that this review has lagged that much because of my churlish needs. However, the finish only made me want to read it again, and that's something I can't really say for a lot of books I've read recently.

My advice? Buy it right now, it's not even a question. Brilliant, down to earth and an extraordinary story about somebody who thinks they're rather ordinary...this is really a must read!

Name:  Anywhere But Home, Adventures in Endurance
Author: Anu Vaidyanathan
Publisher: Harper Sport
Price: Rs. 350
My Rating: 4/5

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