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Shooting the Boh: A Woman's Voyage Down the Wildest River in Borneo
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Shooting the Boh: A Woman's Voyage Down the Wildest River in Borneo

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  287 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
A thrilling, touching, and densely instructive book, Shooting the Boh is also a frank self-portrait of a woman facing her most corrosive fears--and triumphing over them--with fortitude and unflagging wit. "A captivating and truly offbeat rite of passage."--Eric Hansen.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Vintage
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Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I saw a copy of this book in the second-hand shelf and was instantly mesmerized by the cover photo. I don't know if its a composite but it shows a long, narrow boat overfilled with various characters whose clothes and expressions are so different from one another--and oh, the boat is in the middle of wicked whitewater between menacing boulders. I love the fact that their clothes don't seem to match the situation (one has a cowboy hat!) it gives the impression that they're amateurs utterly unprep ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir, world
The thing is, I don't think Tracy Johnston is a bad writer. I think she's a good writer buried under a ton of bad writing habits. And the source material for her travel memoir is fantastic: a nightmare rafting trip down a stretch of the Boh river never before traversed, organized poorly and with little preparation by a company who mistakenly advertised it as only a medium-difficulty three-day sojourn. (It turned to 11.)

Johnston's bad writing habits:
1. She uses zippy magazine-y cliches to describ
I loved this book in a way; it is so interesting and out of the ordinary. What we have here is a group of adventurers, mostly unaware of the real circumstances of what they are getting into, who join a river rafting trip down the Boh River in Borneo. It is through the adventure company of Sobek and supposedly has been run or at least mapped before. It is billed as Class 3 white water (hahahahaha). Supposed to be a 3 day trip (a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour). Yes, it is a bit Gilligan Islandish, on ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
...Gimme a second here (pant, pant)...
Let this leech off my leg...
Ouch!...Jeez...another beesting!...And...what?...
What the heck is that GROWING ON MY FEET???...

Well, I've definitely decided to cross the Boh
off my short list for our 25th wedding anniversary

Great story. Leaves me asking the question,
"Why would someone choose to raft down the
wildest river in Borneo?"

Side note: Of all the horrors Johnston described,
the most terrifying to me was the onset of men
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
For some reason I kept turning the pages... but the book felt fragmented and thrown together like a last minute Halloween costume... so close .. but not quite there.

I'm not a fan of writers going on adventures just so they have something to write about. At times I was angry and annoyed with the author for her novice status in the river, potentially risking the lives of others. Of course, we know she survived.... (Sometimes when I read books like this I wonder if my anger is not more at myself f
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Helpful resource when considering purchasing a river-running expedition in a remote location.
Rachel Jackson
Feb 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shooting the Boh, page 194:
Dave was going to write about the trip also, he said. He'd noticed that the only explorers anyone remembered were the ones who were writers. I agreed. Then I told him that when my article was published he would probably be disappointed.
'It will tell my story,' I said, 'and not yours. It will make you mad because I'll leave out your experience.'"

This quote is the single best example in this entire book of why I abhorred Tracy Johnston's story. Through these few sentence
Betsy Ellis
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Johnston was in her mid-forties and, unbeknownst to her, about to enter menopause, when she decided to join an expedition scheduled to raft down a previously unchartered section of the Boh river in Borneo. I thought it was a great adventure story.
Sue Jackson
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shooting the Boh is an narrative about one woman's journey on a rafting expedition. The author apparently is experienced with adventure and sets off with a group of 10 to raft in unchartered territories. This book is easy to read but is unpredictable as far as content. Tracy Johnston does set the stage, letting the reader know that this trek is one that has never been done before. She gives examples of situations that she and others on this expedition face many of which are dangerous What should ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when it was first published back in the 90s and now I read it again, and found it just as interesting and intriguing as it was the first time. The author finds herself on a float trip down a whitewater river in Borneo, one of the first people ever to float that river. After finding out what they plan to do, the local natives look at them as if they are already dead. The river turns out to be longer and rougher than anyone expects, and the weird relationships between the people t ...more
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“Part of the urge to explore is a desire to become lost.” 14 likes
“Just before we entered the gorge, we pulled into an eddy to fix an oarlock and I asked Dave Heckman, our leader, what the village headman had said.

"It was a prayer," he answered casually.

"I heard Pelanjau translate it into Indonesian for you."



Dave cleared his throat. "Well... actually... he asked God to accept the souls in heaven of the misguided white people who were going to die in the gorge. Amen.”
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