Sixteen year old Blake travels to Base Camp on Mt. Everest to spend time with his physician father. When a deadly avalanche occurs, Dad is forced to rethink things and sends Blake away. Now accompanied by a Sherpa guide, and in possession of a mysterious camera, Blake undertakes a journey that will challenge everything he believes. In the magical Himalayas, he will be forever changed by what he experiences.
The novel starts with Blake being forced to visit his father at base camp at Mount Everest. It was nice that the story started out with a bit of action, but it was almost too abrupt. Blake’s issues with his father are at the forefront at the beginning of the book. It’s obvious he blames him for everything that went wrong, but even I found it too much of an overreaction to ship him off to Mount Everest for smoking a little pot. He’s a sixteen year old boy for crying out loud! There are probably better ways to handle that. To uproot him in the middle of the school year (after uprooting him once already after a divorce) seems like it would be doing more harm than good. It also seemed pointless for him to go all the way to Mount Everest just to be asked to leave.
Obviously, it was a necessary plot device to start his trip with Ang and to reach “enlightenment”. On the trip with Ang, Blake and Ang debate philosophy and discuss Buddhist teachings. It’s an interesting subject to learn about, but all of the conversations seemed forced and weren’t written very organically. I did enjoy learning about some of the teachings though since I wasn’t aware of Buddhist principles before.
The end of the novel is a little anticlimactic and Blake’s transformation seemed quite rushed. Perhaps the novel is good to introduce Buddhism to younger readers, but there are probably better books out there for that. Overall, it’s a mediocre book with a couple of interesting principles thrown in.