Sihpromatum: I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace is an enjoyable memoir. Sihpromatum is defined as a blessing that first appears to be a curse. After Savannah’s parents’ divorce, her mother announces her intention to take Savannah, her older sister Bree and her oldest brother Ammon on a yearlong journey around the world. Savannah is less than thrilled. Having to give almost everything away, including her beloved dog, Savannah is also upset about leaving her friends behind. Embarking from her home in Canada, Savannah’s journey begins in China. Having heard awful things about the country she finds herself pleasantly surprised. Ammon, who has already traveled extensively, has researched the history of the places that they plan to visit. As Savannah gains an appreciation for the people, especially those in rural areas, she also gains an education that could not be matched in a classroom.
Initially Savannah hopes that the journey will end earlier than expected, however, as they progress through China and on to Mongolia time seems to move faster and she gains a greater appreciation for the experience she is sharing with her family. Savannah is also greatly humbled by the people who live harsh lives with very little to help them survive. She gains a better understanding of why her mother needed to embark on this journey.
Vividly written in colorful detail, Savannah’s adventure is unparalleled by anything that could have been written in fiction. Sharing her emotions, along with her observations, the reader has an opportunity to watch Savannah mature and gain a great deal of depth to her character. It is also her journey of discovery from within. There are many lessons to be learned from Savannah’s adventure.
As a child, I would have had no problems leaving friends behind to go on an adventure like this. When I used to see a plane fly overhead, I wanted to be on it. Although giving up my dog would have been heartbreaking as it was for Savannah. As an adult, when I went through my divorce, I think I felt the same urges as Savannah’s mother. I bought a fast car, swam with the dolphins in Hawaii, climbed pyramids in Mexico and trained in martial arts in Okinawa. Unlike her mom, I always had a job and a home to return to. I did my adventures without children. For her to share this experience with them is both inspiring and terrifying, because their plans did not always go as expected, like when they got stranded in the Gobi Desert.
I totally enjoyed reading Sihpromatum and I am glad that I got to see these places through Savannah’s eyes, especially in regards to eating and toileting. This is definitely an adventure for an armchair traveler and will be enjoyed by family members of all ages. In addition to reading the book, I also recommend going to her website to check out the incredible pictures that were taken.