Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.*

Page 1

*Not Dr Joan’s own words, but she opens a chapter with a quote from the Poem “Youth” by Samuel Ullman in 1918

In a nutshell


Dr Joan Louwrens is a South African medical doctor who took a path less travelled with practising medicine. Originally a GP, she was always drawn to wild places. When her husband died, leaving her to raise two young daughters alone, she threw caution to the wind and jumped into “adventure medicine”, working on all seven continents and oceans in between. A Wilder Life is a memoir in which she shares her journey to becoming an adventuring doctor, losing the love of her life, raising her children alone and the medical challenges she faced along the way.

Book Club Notes


What I love about reading is the ability for just a short span of time to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Learning about other people’s lives, paths, and struggles, expands your mind, and your ability to be both empathetic and grateful. A Wilder Life really captured that for me. It was so interesting learning about Dr Joan Louwrens’ life. She is almost such an ordinary person, doctor, and mother, yet is exceptionally anything but ordinary. Her ability to grab fear, unknowns and change by the horns, all in the name of personal growth is exceptionally inspiring.

What was also interesting is how she made this book about learning too. She did not just share the places she went, she delved into the history of each place too. Her love of wildlife and history comes through strongly. This won’t be a quick read, and you won’t fly through it in one weekend, but if you love learning about different people’s lives and are interested in adventuring, you will enjoy reading it.

Read If


You love learning about different people’s lives and are interested in adventuring.

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Readability – 8 /10
Writing – 7/10
Likeability – 10/10
Purpose – 8/10
Shareability – 8/10
8.0Overall Score

The Nitty Gritty


Published by: Jonathon Ball

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography, Adventure

ISBN: 978-1-77619-060-7

Pages: 280

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A note on our book ratings

Storyline: How good is the storyline? Is it believable and complex or does it make you shake your head in its ridiculousness?

Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?

Character Development: Do the characters evolve and grow through the book and are they multi-dimensional?

Plot Twist: Were you able to predict the end, or did the author give you some surprises along the way to keep you on your toes?

Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?

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