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The Good Life: Wilderness Adventures with Boris Lock

Dorian Amos

Eye Books Ltd

UK Trade Paperback First Edition

ISBN 1-903-07030-9

Publication Date: July 2004

232 Pages; £9.99

Date Reviewed: 19-12-04

Reviewed by: Katie Dean © 2004




If you have ever considered giving up your comfortable, perhaps seemingly boring everyday life in search of an adventure, then you should first read 'The Good Life' by Dorian Amos. This book is the true story of a Cornishman and his wife who one day decided to give up everything they knew and move to the Canadian Wilderness in search of a more adventurous life. Written in a highly entertaining manner, the story is very much an adventure. It also succeeds in bringing the Canadian Wilderness to life and celebrating the rich history of a part of the world that is relatively unknown.

Taken in any light, the scenario of this book seems like utter madness. Dorian Amos was, until 1998, a successful cartoonist with his own small business in a picturesque Cornish fishing village. His wife, Bridget was a psychiatric nurse. Like many people, they found their 'normal' lives somewhat frustrating and devoid of adventure, but this couple differed in deciding to do something about it. However, as Dorian's entertaining descriptions of their decision-making process demonstrate, they did little in the way of proper planning or even considering the consequences of their decision. One day Dorian simply sold his business and bought a one-way ticket to Canada where Bridget joined him a little later. They bought a second hand truck, a dog and a minimal amount of camping equipment and drove into the wilderness in search of adventure. This sounds like a rather far-fetched scheme, but when told in Dorian's own words, it somehow seems to make perfect sense. He writes in a highly entertaining manner, finding comedy in even the most dangerous adventures. This light style keeps you wanting to turn the page to find out what happened next. At times it is difficult to remember that the story is entirely true, albeit slightly dramatized for effect.

It is not only Dorian's style that makes 'The Good Life' into a compelling read. The descriptions it contains are entirely real and manage to convey a sense of the spectacular beauty of British Columbia and the Yukon. The couple began their adventure in Edmonton, traveling over to Vancouver Island, back to the mainland and north through British Columbia until they came upon the Yukon where they eventually settled just outside Dawson city. This takes the reader through some of the most spectacular scenery that nature can offer: high mountains, serene lakes and rivers, dominated by thousands upon thousands of miles of forest and, of course, the wildlife that inhabits this unspoilt land.

Dorian describes all this with the enthusiasm that makes one understand why, despite the many challenges they faced, Dorian and Bridget never seriously considered returning to their old life once they had experienced the wilderness. It is refreshing to see that the history of this land is also recognized. Many of the places they visited played a key role in the Gold Rush and Dorian's account reflects this, offering small historical anecdotes to put the area in context. The real history of this Wilderness belongs to the Native Indians, so often forgotten. They are acknowledged in this book. No wonder, since their lifestyle is one that Dorian and Bridget, along with the few other souls who have set up a life in the area, are forced to learn and adopt in order to survive. One is left with a strong impression of the majesty and dominance of nature, at the same time being reminded of the respect we owe to our natural world, but seldom seem to offer.

'The Good Life' is a highly entertaining read and a good advertisement for the Yukon Territory. It also leaves much to think about in terms of the values by which most of us live. By the time you have finished this book, you will either be packing for your own adventure or have come to appreciate the physical comforts of the modern lifestyle you have chosen!