Beyond Possible (Young Readers' Edition)

Beyond Possible (Young Readers' Edition)
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
January 04, 2022
ISBN
978-1426374050
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Join Nepalese climber Nimsdai Purja as he recounts his journey to scale all 8,000 meter “Death Zone” mountains in seven months.

In this action-packed memoir, young readers will not only learn how Purja physically accomplished this incredible feat, but also how his attitude, leadership skills, and willingness to learn from mistakes took him to the top. From his childhood growing up in Nepal, to a career as an elite soldier in the British army, Purja shows how his early life shaped him and enabled him to go beyond what people though was possible.

Editor review

1 review
To Go Where the Brave Dare Not Go!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Learning Value
 
4.0
Born in Nepal in 1983, Purja's earliest goal was to serve in the British Army with the Brigade of Gurkhas like his father. His father's salary in the service caused the family to struggle a bit, but with the help of his older brothers, he attended a boarding school, and was able to join the Gurkhas in 2003. Eventually, he joined the elite Special Boat Service, which no Gurkha had ever joined. It was tough work, and he was not always treated well by his fellow soliders because of his ethnicity. He was able to take advantage of specialized training, and took a number of climbing courses. This lead to a strong desire to climb Everest, but there were challenges along the way. Even though his first climb had some problems, he was very interested in pursuing this activity, and eventually got on a G200E team trying the climb in 2017. After resigning from the military, he started investigating how he could manage to climb more impressive mountains. This isn't a cheap endeavor, but he undertook efforts to fund Project Possible, as he named his plans. He took money out of equity in his house, and slowly his expeditions gained more attention. He used his adventures to bring attention to climate change, and has so far climbed fourteen of the highest mountains in the world.

Future adventurers who have read Olson's nonfiction title Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World's Most Dangerous Mountain or the fictional Peak (Smith) or Everest (Korman) series, Beyond Possible offers a fascinating look at what it takes to climb these imposing peaks right now. For me, reading about these climbs is a much better way to experience them than to plan a trip myself, but young readers hungry for adventure will look at Purja's experiences and envision themselves in his hiking boots. His story is inspirational and harrowing all at once.
Good Points
My area is home to a fair number of Nepalese immigrants, and I've struggled to find books to represent them. There is some information about his time in Nepal, and what life was like there, and I would have gladly had a few more chapters about that. It will be great to have this book to hand to readers who can see that someone from a similar background can go on to achieve great things.

The book has lots of action and adventure, and all of the horrifying details about the many, many things that can go wrong on a high peak. I appreciated that there was a discussion of how expensive these operations are, and how many sacrifices Purja and his family made in order for him to have these experiences. If any young readers ever do try similar expeditions, hopefully they will proceed with great caution and preparation.

There are some greatcolor pictures in the center of the book, a "Lessons from the Death Zone" discussion of life philosophy Purja has taken away from his climbs, and a page of Purja's world records. This is a shorter book (just over 150 pages) that I can see being popular with readers who like nonfiction tales about war or adventures. It reminded me a bit of Banner in the Sky, which was written in 1954 but set in 1856, and just goes to show that reading about harrowing experiences has a long (and chilly!) tradition.
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