All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Melt by Lisa Walker

on May 2, 2018

Lisa Walker
2018, 278p
Copy courtesy of the author/publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Antarctica is getting hotter …

Summer Wright, hippie turned TV production assistant, organises her life down to the minute. And when her project-management-guru boyfriend, Adrian, proposes marriage — right on schedule — she will reach the peak of The Cone of Certainty.

At least, that’s the plan – until adventure-show queen Cougar Gale intervenes. Suddenly Summer is impersonating Cougar in Antarctica: learning glaciology and climate science on the fly, building a secret igloo, improvising scripts based on Dynasty, and above all trying not to be revealed as an impostor.

I cannot resist a book about Antarctica. It’s an area that fascinates me and I love reading books set there (not a huge amount in fiction, giving the limited population living on Antarctica at any given time) or watching documentaries about it. Also penguins are my favourite animal and look how adorable this cover is!

Summer Wright is a production assistant for a TV company and since meeting her boyfriend Adrian, has desperately tried to be the sort of girl that she thinks he wants her to be. She tries to be relentlessly organised but it almost never seems to work out. The TV company she works for are gearing up to produce a series of an outdoor adventure show in Antarctica when the host Cougar Gale has a fall and breaks her ankle. Apparently with a hair colour, some make up and if you squint a bit, Summer can pass as Cougar Gale…so the idea is to send her in Cougar’s place to host so that they don’t lose their slot filming. The only problem? Summer doesn’t know anything about Antarctica and her love of TV soap operas has her going hopelessly off script.

I absolutely loved this. It was so funny and cute. I see quite a bit of myself in Summer, although I wasn’t raised in the same sort of hippy, free-range style that she was, I’m the sort of person who tries to be organised but then messes up my whole planned out day because thirty minutes more sleep was way more appealing that getting up and doing some exercise. It really seems that Summer is trying to push herself to be this super organised, dedicated person mostly to please her boyfriend Adrian, a project manager who spouts a lot of jargon. Summer thinks Adrian might propose, thereby cementing her new life but instead he breaks up with her, leaving Summer reeling and then on her way to Antarctica before she can blink.

Summer is supposed to be pretending to be Cougar Gale, who kind of sounds like a female type of Bear Grylls maybe without eating bugs, but Cougar is also a glaciologist and Summer barely knows what a glacier is. So there are quite a few really funny scenes where Summer has to pretend she knows what she’s talking about or deflect before anyone can suspect. Cougar is also apparently a bit of a diva who takes no prisoners so Summer has to basically act like a huge bitch and demand all sorts of things. Every time she slips out of character, her cameraman has to remind her that she’s not down here as herself, but as someone else, even though Summer is hugely uncomfortable with putting people offside. Summer also has her own ways about how she wants this TV series to go and she wants to put her own spin on it. Complicating matters in several ways for Summer is climate scientist Lucas Nilsson, who is responsible for the crew during the time that they’re in Antarctica. It’s pretty obvious Lucas knows his stuff and Summer isn’t sure she’s fooling him at all. And then there’s noted climate change skeptic, Federal Minister for Science, Nathan Hornby and his ‘manager’ – who just so happens to be Adrian, Summer’s now ex-boyfriend. They’ve hopped on the Antarctica flight so that the Minister can really “get a feel” for what’s happening down there and how it might affect Australia’s agreement treaty to protect Antarctica. Summer is being pulled in an awful lot of directions at once and underneath that is the struggle for who she really wants to be. Summer has a dream inside of her that she is passionate about but she is putting a lid on it, in favour of who it seems that other people think she should be. Going the safe route.

This book also addresses a lot about climate change, structured around the TV show that Summer is down there to film so it’s information and debate woven into the story in a humorous way and it really works. Not only are there significant changes in Antarctica but there’s also been much documented information coming from the Arctic as well and it’s something that reflects real life. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to support climate change, but people still seem fixed on the small things. Like how one unseasonably cool day in summer negates the entire ‘global warming’ argument. Our former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, is a noted climate skeptic.  As Lucas points out in this book, ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ are very different things.

For me, Melt is a fabulous little melting pot itself, of humour, science, topical debate, an amazing location, the idea of being true to yourself and finding out what you really want, and of course a little pinch of romance. I wish I could find more books just like this one!


Book #64 of 2018

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