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In Search of Lady Ayahuasca: An Ill-Conceived Quest Through the Peruvian Amazon

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Zach Zimmerman struggles with long-term commitment. After dropping out of the University of Southern California and moving to Peru for seven months, Zach ultimately discovers that, in every respect imaginable, hes broke. No money. No plans. No purpose. Of course, if he were normal, this is the point when hed beg his parents for a flight home. Instead, Zach decides this is Zach Zimmerman struggles with long-term commitment. After dropping out of the University of Southern California and moving to Peru for seven months, Zach ultimately discovers that, in every respect imaginable, he’s broke. No money. No plans. No purpose. Of course, if he were normal, this is the point when he’d beg his parents for a flight home. Instead, Zach decides this is the appropriate time to venture alone into one of the deadliest and most unpredictable regions of the planet: the Amazon rainforest. See, according to some guy Zach met in the south of Peru—a guy with a distinct fondness for psychedelics—there exists a spirit of the jungle, and this spirit has a name: Lady Ayahuasca. Local legend holds that Lady Ayahuasca is a divine mother, an omnipotent presence that guides all those who seek her counsel to their true, enlightened paths. Zach, a devoted skeptic, puts little stock into the proposed existence of jungle spirits, yet is nevertheless intrigued by their growing popularity, particularly among New Age travelers, and expects at the very least to find some level of excitement in a land of such great unknown. What Zach doesn’t expect to find is the tarantulas and alligators and shamans and native Amazonian tribes and pretty Chinese girls and eccentric characters that, chaotic and random and dangerous as they may appear, all seem to be leading him somewhere, until, in the end, Zach discovers (well, let’s not leave any spoilers here). Though at its outset, In Search of Lady Ayahuasca is a humorous examination of the abstract, seemingly incredulous beliefs we humans are drawn to, at its heart it’s about a young man struggling to find his own way in a world of beaten-down paths. Zach Zimmerman’s guile and self-deprecatory humor make his journal hard to put down, and his insightful stream of consciousness regarding the nature of skepticism and spirituality will have you reflecting inward as you laugh outward. Plus, it’s only like a hundred pages.


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Zach Zimmerman struggles with long-term commitment. After dropping out of the University of Southern California and moving to Peru for seven months, Zach ultimately discovers that, in every respect imaginable, hes broke. No money. No plans. No purpose. Of course, if he were normal, this is the point when hed beg his parents for a flight home. Instead, Zach decides this is Zach Zimmerman struggles with long-term commitment. After dropping out of the University of Southern California and moving to Peru for seven months, Zach ultimately discovers that, in every respect imaginable, he’s broke. No money. No plans. No purpose. Of course, if he were normal, this is the point when he’d beg his parents for a flight home. Instead, Zach decides this is the appropriate time to venture alone into one of the deadliest and most unpredictable regions of the planet: the Amazon rainforest. See, according to some guy Zach met in the south of Peru—a guy with a distinct fondness for psychedelics—there exists a spirit of the jungle, and this spirit has a name: Lady Ayahuasca. Local legend holds that Lady Ayahuasca is a divine mother, an omnipotent presence that guides all those who seek her counsel to their true, enlightened paths. Zach, a devoted skeptic, puts little stock into the proposed existence of jungle spirits, yet is nevertheless intrigued by their growing popularity, particularly among New Age travelers, and expects at the very least to find some level of excitement in a land of such great unknown. What Zach doesn’t expect to find is the tarantulas and alligators and shamans and native Amazonian tribes and pretty Chinese girls and eccentric characters that, chaotic and random and dangerous as they may appear, all seem to be leading him somewhere, until, in the end, Zach discovers (well, let’s not leave any spoilers here). Though at its outset, In Search of Lady Ayahuasca is a humorous examination of the abstract, seemingly incredulous beliefs we humans are drawn to, at its heart it’s about a young man struggling to find his own way in a world of beaten-down paths. Zach Zimmerman’s guile and self-deprecatory humor make his journal hard to put down, and his insightful stream of consciousness regarding the nature of skepticism and spirituality will have you reflecting inward as you laugh outward. Plus, it’s only like a hundred pages.

30 review for In Search of Lady Ayahuasca: An Ill-Conceived Quest Through the Peruvian Amazon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Josie

    I really liked this book. It was very well written. My only problem with it, and this is my pet peeve, is that the author kept referring to grown women as girls. There was a person, introduced to us as a middle-aged French assistant, that was referred to- a page later-as a French girl. I understand that sometimes the term "girl" is used as a term of endearment. But, if the person were male and it would be odd to call him a boy, don't call that person a girl. That said, I would definitely read I really liked this book. It was very well written. My only problem with it, and this is my pet peeve, is that the author kept referring to grown women as girls. There was a person, introduced to us as a middle-aged French assistant, that was referred to- a page later-as a French girl. I understand that sometimes the term "girl" is used as a term of endearment. But, if the person were male and it would be odd to call him a boy, don't call that person a girl. That said, I would definitely read other books written by this author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Irek

    A funny little book, nothing insightful, though; there are many better books about Aya. As somebody else said, the author is full of himself and sometimes it is tiring. There are grammatical mistakes, too, like this one: "After dumping several buckets of rainwater over my head [...], the sun has completely vanished." Not good for an aspiring writer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Completely Enjoyable This made me smile ... Zimmerman writes a travel diary the way some of us think and only wish we could write ... it is most certainly the way most of us enjoy reading. Take a break from your reality and pick up this story!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Looking forward to reading more by this author. Very good story on several levels. Hilarious in places. Deep in others. Hits on many things in which I am interested.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Jared

    Very ill conceived If you like wandering plots without much sense but an endearing end, then you will enjoy this ramble through the jungle.

  6. 5 out of 5

    V L

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debra Tucker

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Austin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raz

  11. 4 out of 5

    debora

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zach Zimmerman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Reiger

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dani

  15. 4 out of 5

    rosie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Forrest

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  18. 4 out of 5

    Luke Ellery

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Astry

  20. 5 out of 5

    SANDI ZICK

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  22. 5 out of 5

    david kephart

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dara

  24. 5 out of 5

    cassie

  25. 4 out of 5

    D

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Burns

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Norman

  28. 4 out of 5

    B

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Mcmullen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alison

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