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Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  713 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews

A quick examination of her roots, and one may never have guessed that Mireya Mayor would become the woman she is today. Yet, against all odds, this self-professed former "girly girl" daughter of overprotective Cuban immigrants blossomed from NFL cheerleader to Fulbright Scholar to field scientist and ultimately, quintessential adventurer. Now, with more than a decade's wor

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published (first published March 15th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,152)
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Mireya Mayor
Feb 03, 2011 Mireya Mayor rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Hope you love reading it as much as I loved pouring through my expedition journals to write it.
First off, many, many thanks to National Geographic for sending me a complimentary copy of this book as part of the First Reads/Goodreads Giveaway program.

I'm very torn about rating and reviewing this book.

Mireya Mayor is an astonishing, inspirational woman who has done some amazing things in her adventures around the globe. She's a Fulbright scholar, she's a National Science Foundation Fellow, she has a Ph.D. from Stony Brook, she discovered a new species of mouse lemur and she even worked wit
May 28, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, god, I loved this.

It's far from a perfect book, mostly because the editing could have been more judicious. Too many references to cheerleading and pink boots (we get it), and sometimes part of an anecdote or a simile or a joke is repeated; I got the feeling that the book was written in parts, and the parts got shuffled around several times, so that no one noticed quite how often some words/phrases got used or that she'd just said the same thing a chapter before. A few too many cliched turns
Carly Knowles
Let me start by saying that the last 10% of this book was what gave it 2 of the 4 stars given.

The story in and of itself was what interested me most about this novel, her explorations. I think if Mireya had spent half as much time on developing her stories and making them personal to the reader, (i.e. SOME description, please!) it may have been a great book; however, instead she spends 1/2 the time sounding like a bonafide explorer lacking writing skills, details, and creativity and the other h
Feb 04, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists and fans of suspense, action, memoirs, chick lit, and inspirational stories
Shelves: 2010
This book is for every girl who loves lipstick and lizards. For every
woman who has been told she doesn't "look" like a doctor or a lawyer
or a physicist or a skydiver. For every person that loves action
packed, thrilling narrative nonfiction.

This book is about one woman, but it is for everyone.

Mayor's voice is instantly relatable; she has a Ph.D. but she writes
like a person, not a scientist. She speaks of her first adventures
growing up raised by her three Cuban "mothers" in Miami (hilarious),
her c
Jes Alexander
Feb 08, 2011 Jes Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pink Boots and a Machete is an empowering autobiography detailing how one humble, tree-climbing, bug-collecting tomboy evolved into one of the most recognizable primatologists and television adventurers on the planet. Mireya Mayor holds nothing back - from growing up in a family displaced by political oppression, to finding fame on the sidelines of professional football fields, to her triumphs and challenges in some of the most remote places on earth. You'll be amazed at Mayor's fertile sense of ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Mireya takes us on a journey from her Cuban roots in Miami to her brief stint as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader to the jungle of a Madagascar and so on. She also touches briefly on how having a "pretty face" has made it difficult for her to be taken seriously, how she had to work harder. It paid off for her. She became Nat Geo's first female wildlife correspondent.

And if you need more proof that she's more than a former cheerleader/pretty face, read this book! She travels to South America and the
May 17, 2013 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I do not think I would have made it past the first 20 pages if this book wasn't for the zoo book club. It was beyond annoying hearing the constant references as another review stated to being a NFL cheerleader, she grew up with strong women (aunt, mother and grandmother), she is cuban, she likes fashion, she has pink boots, she likes brand products, she is an explorer and she is Ph.d. Most annoying was the cheerleader thing everywhere. It made the animal stories that less interesting. I wasn't s ...more
I could not put this book down. I read it in an entire day. This is because a) it is a thrilling and fascinating series of stories & b) it is a very smooth read.

Mireya is the kind of role model for me and for women & girls across the world. She is not your stereotypical explorer and she's not ashamed that she loves "girlie" things. She's always loved animals and dreamed of exploring in the jungle one day. She becomes an NFL cheerleader (which will always be brought up in regards to her c
May 05, 2011 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I got the chance to read this book, I knew it was going to be great. I love to read books about wildlife and people rescuing the amazing creatures on Earth. This book is all that and more, it is filled with hearting-warming tales, endless adventures, and one truely amazing story. For me it was very inspiring and one day I hope I receive the honor of meeting Mireya Mayor, the author. I also hope to become an amazing explorer just like her, and write a book just as interesting, and natural as ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
I must confess that I had never heard of Mireya Mayor before seeing this book, and so I started reading knowing nothing more than what the title stated. I can now say that Mayor is indeed a very interesting explorer who has faced everything from a plane crash, parasites, charging animals, and sexist jerks who think she's too pretty to be a scientist. Her adventures in some of the planet's most dangerous places are unbelievable, and the work she has done for endangered species is very inspiring. ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Margie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young women, librarians, conservationists
Enjoyable, better than expected.

I had never heard of Mireya Mayor before I entered a Goodreads giveaway for it. Apparently I don't watch enough TV. So I didn't expect very good writing.

The writing was therefore better than expected, though not great. It's conversational, but so much is left out! As other Goodreads reviewers have noted, she starts a story, gets to the climax, and then ends it. The example someone else has given of hanging off a mountainside and noticing that her rope was fraying
Leo Polovets
Disappointing. The title piqued my curiosity, but the actual explanation of how Mireya Mayor went from cheerleader to scientist is not very interesting. There are some neat stories in the book about Mireya's experiences observing various animals all over Africa, but in the end the biography felt trite and the stories were disjoint. A good biography has some theme, like "accept each opportunity you encounter" or "perseverance pays off," but Pink Boots and a Machete was theme-less.

Also, the author
Selket Nicole
Apr 07, 2015 Selket Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, travel
the writing in this book is choppy, with no real flow and a little too much unnecessary foreshadowing. i also didn't love the author's tendency to interject constant reminders that she was a cheerleader and a girly girl where they really didn't fit - it just didn't feel natural to read about her near-death mountain climbing experience followed by her observation that she totally needed a manicure, and it took me out of the narrative. however, that aside, the stories of her adventures were intere ...more
Erin Shull
I liked the story, but this memoir is not really very well written. I wanted to read more about the writer personally and her relationships with her family, friends, and coworkers, and less about which vanity items she packed on her various trips. She mentions the fact that she was an NFL Cheerleader about 85 times, and none of her wildlife experiences are very detailed. I wanted to know more about each expedition and how she felt in her dangerous surroundings, more about her relationship to her ...more
May 07, 2015 Marta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm...the star system and I just don't always work out. I've rated really well written books 3 stars because of averaging it with my personal taste- and I'm doing the same thing here. Pink Boots is not very well edited. Mireya Mayor would have benefitted by having someone tighten up her narratives but three stars doesn't seem to acknowledge the uniqueness of her story nor my enjoyment level. Hmmm....
Mayor was raised by 3 strong Cuban women in Miami. She was a kid who hid bugs under her bed and
Although I wanted to love the book, and hate to find fault with a scientist who's willing to show her feminine side, I didn't like how full of herself she was. Self-promotion is something I dislike even when it's coming from a constituency I want to support!

What made me a little sadder than that: that Jane Goodall wrote the forward. I REALLY wanted to like the book!
Apr 18, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it
While reading the first quarter, maybe third of the book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it. But then suddenly the writing picked up. I’m glad I stuck with it; there was a lot about it I liked.

At first, the writing was simple and brief. I got the feeling that when the author was uninterested in a subject, she’d gloss over it quickly. Once she becomes engaged with what she’s doing, the book comes alive. Her descriptions of her adventures were fascinating and educational. The range of wri
Oct 30, 2011 Lucia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, travel
I can't bring myself to like the overconfident, fashionista writer of this memoir. Cool adventures, but it turns out I don't want to hear her tell the stories.

No use finishing it, with 800 probably-better books waiting in my queue.
Jan 02, 2016 Ana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn't help but feeling as I read this that it could have been a really good book. She's not a writer, but you would think the people at National Geographic could have hooked her up with a writer or at least a strong editor who could have made it a better read. She tends to short-circuit her most interesting stories, like when she's writing about contracting some weird jungle illness, and you want to see what happens and how she got through it. She talks about how if this progresses she ...more
Elizabeth Ward
Jul 31, 2016 Elizabeth Ward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Usually I'm not one for nonfiction, but this book blew me away. When I went to get a different book from the library, the title caught my attention and I decided to give it a shot, and I had trouble putting it down! Mayor does an amazing job detailing her journey from childhood to being a cheerleader to being an explorer. Her journey is nothing short of inspirational. Although her book is about going into jungles and exploring (plus some near-death experiences), she makes it a point to use her s ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could be her when I grow up, I would. Badass and never one of the boys, Mayor is a literal trailblazer. Her stories are incredible and are of things most of us can barely imagine. LBD, tweezers, pink, and hair dye do have their place in the jungle. Mayor has a lot to teach, and not just about primates.

The book jumps around a bit and reads a lot like a conversation. It is not full of scientific jargon, so it's an easy and quick read for anyone. I frequently referred back to the photos and w
Apr 19, 2014 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, library, 2014
I can't remember how/where I heard about this book, but the title definitely grabbed me. I actually recommended it for purchase and when my library got a digital copy, I jumped on it! (Library = Awesome) What I expected: story of a girly girl who somehow ends up in a jungle and finds her calling. What I got: story of a girl who knew her calling all along, stumbled into to professional cheerleading for a little while (though it was never really her thing), and then followed her true dreams into t ...more
Jun 13, 2011 SueDella rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: will-not-read
Sorry but I could hardly believe this woman has a PhD she writes like a teenager and I lost interest after the first chapter
Julie S.
Feb 04, 2011 Julie S. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This sounds rather interesting. I don't usually read nonfiction, but I will just have to make an exception for this book.
Mar 17, 2011 Meghan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aa-12-reqrec
Disjointed narrative and constant references to her short time as an NFL cheerleader made this a chore to read.
Hey- did you know that the author is not only a highly regarded researcher in her field BUT ALSO a former NFL cheerleader who is so concerned with being fashionable at all times she even brings a little black dress and high heels into the Amazon with her?!!?!

It's ok if you didn't know these facts- the author will tell you again at least ten times over the course of the book.

I never really got a sense of what exactly Mayor was focused on in her travels and studies. One moment she didcovering a n
Erikajean Jean
Poorly written and not very engaging.
Sep 17, 2011 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Morgan by: Michelle Hodkin

Thats how I would summarize this book. It must be one of the best books I have ever read! Mireya writes such an interesting story, that can truly only be appreciated by a woman.

I am a girl who dreams of being a doctor. Like Mireya's field, it is a truly male dominated field. This book will remind me why anything is possible. It is also nice to see how a girly-girl can do whatever she dreams of. I also am a hardcore girly girl, who sometimes get giggles at the fact I am taking 4 honors classes
Bora Zivkovic
Dec 18, 2015 Bora Zivkovic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is quite difficult to write an autobiography when one is so accomplished. It is too easy to sound self-aggrandizing. On the other hand, efforts to write in a more self-deprecating manner, emphasizing the role of friends and luck in one's success, usually sound fake.

Mireya Mayor did not fall into either trap. She just wrote it as it is. A genuine, authentic voice describing what happened, what she did, what others did, and how it all felt.

In other words, Mireya is a Natural Born BloggerTM (and
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A scientist, explorer, wildlife correspondent, anthropologist and inspirational speaker, Dr. Mireya Mayor, a Ph.D. in anthropology, has reported on wildlife and habitat issues to worldwide audiences for more than a decade.

Mireya has made numerous appearances on the “Today” show, MSNBC, CNN, and Despierta America and has been profiled in People, Marie Claire, Latina, National Geographic Adventure,
More about Mireya Mayor...

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“I want to set the example my mother set for me: a strong female role model who faces challenges takes risks and conquers fears. I want my children to know that as women they can do whatever they dream as long as they believe in themselves. More than anything it is my responsibility to instill in my daughters the knowledge that they can have a family and everything else too.” 15 likes
“Every morning in the middle of nowhere, without electricity or anyone to impress, I'd take great care in picking out my outfit and hover in front of a business card-size mirror to apply my lip gloss and check my eyebrows. I also felt I had a strong case for bringing a little black dress on expeditions. Village parties spring up more often than you might expect, and despite never having been a Girl Scout, I like to be prepared.” 7 likes
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