Nicolette's Reviews > The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Guevara
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Nov 29, 09

Recommended for: nonfiction book readers
Read in December, 2009, read count: 1

The Motorcycle Diaries ‘tis a charismatic description of two men, numerous kindhearted Latin Americans, and countless memorable experiences. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy nonfiction books, or who want to learn about Latin America. I think that non-fiction is a very special genre that only a select group of people enjoy, but I also think that it depends on the subject matter of the story- that is why I mention its charming, verbose illustrations of the essence of Latin America. All in all I found it to be a mediocre journal, and I noticed that I enjoyed the more subtle messages that the book held, the ones that you think about days after you actually read the piece. To me, the lines in-between-the-lines were far more delightfully surprising.

The book is composed of Ernesto's succinct, daily journal entries. Everyday was different, and every day presented new difficulties. Days were in chronological order and their titles often referenced the city he was in that day. Some were brief and some were long, but I don't think that I was too interested in these stories because in the end I found myself thinking about the book's theme and about connections I could make (which often ended up being to the world). I also suppose this story wasn't particularly thrilling, to me, because I did not have much background knowledge on Latin America or an Ernesto himself. However, from this notebook, I did learn a lot about said, spontaneous (because that's the word that I feel best describes him based on these notes) Ernesto Guevara.

I would describe Ernesto as an inspiring brave individual because he encountered many people and many situations that were unusual, different, frightening, and/or worrisome. For example, I dare say, most people are not as friendly to lepers as Ernesto and Alberto were. See, long time ago, leper colonies were created because people believed that leprosy was contagious. Now, however, leprosy colonies are formed so that the lepers do not have to be seen. Leprosy is a very unpleasant, and often sickening disease- the looks of it. And apparently their (the lepers’) original community, too, did not fancy seeing them anywhere near themselves- hence the colony. So, why then would Ernesto and Alberto want to see them? Well, they do not say. But I believe that their entire trip was dedicated to learning and experiencing and they must have believed that it was a once in a life time journey, so they did whatever they felt would be unregrettably beneficial.

Ernesto also never seemed fazed by the fact that nighttime shelter was always a constant worry. They depended much on strangers’ generosity. But I will say that the effect is pleasant; Latin Americans are very generous. During one of the discussions I asked my table “Do you think that people in America, today, would treat Ernesto and Alberto with such generosity?” My table agreed that America today would not. If fact, we went farther and asked ourselves if we would have let them stay at our own houses and sadly, we said that we would not. We (and we believed the same of the majority of the rest of the nation) think that we would have been suspicious of the intentions of two men who didn't have a place to stay.

All in all, I think that this book was more than just a tale of Ernesto's journey, because if you read between the lines, you will learn far more about the heart of the Latin American people, and about the beauty of Latin America itself.
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