Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just Spell My Name Right

There’s an old saying in politics and entertainment journalism: “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” The line has been attributed to dozens of folks, most notably P.T. Barnum as well as other outspoken figures Mae West, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain. And now I’m saying it, too.

The gist of the saying is that there is no bad publicity: you know you’re making waves and getting to be well-known in the world when you receive reviews, whether negative or positive. Today, I joined the “just spell my name right” ranks as I just received my first negatively slanted review of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India, which is a top-rated India travel book on Amazon Kindle soon to be released in print.

I’m still human enough to be pleased they emailed me the review directly rather than posting it on Amazon, though it could happen sooner or later. The reviewer was actually quite kind and sensitive toward my feelings (which I find touching) and politely wishes for me to remove certain distasteful chapters. Reflecting now, a book that makes one think – even if it’s unpleasant – must be effective.

(Ed. note - The comments were a letter to me personally, which I removed from this post per reviewer's personal and most polite request.)

Would I change the chapters suggested? Nah. They are part and parcel of Bindi’s unsentimental and often messy journey into the heart – and guts – of India. Not so many solo western women get to travel as the poorer locals do – third class. According to a 2010 Oxford University study, 55% of India’s population lives in poverty. So my reporting, gross and uncomfortable as it may be to read (for a cozy person living in clean hygienic western standards) is accurate. Kudos, Bindi.

I suppose I’ll never be heralded as a squeaky-clean, holier-than-thou spiritual gal. Shucks. I’m a seeker of the roll-up-the-sleeves, rule-breakin’ variety, and I’ll probably never be embraced by the devout as their spokesmodel. Every single morsel of wisdom has come through viscerally experiencing the Divine directly. And sometimes, that means Bindi boldly goes where the average traveler would never normally go.

Don't have a Kindle and want to read Bindi Girl?
Read it on your PC or Mac with the free Kindle Cloud Reader at


  1. The good, the bad, the ugly....and it's all good!

  2. I believe there are plenty of guidebooks already available for those travelers seeking "places of interest with economical hotels."
    As a nitty-gritty traveler myself, I appreciate that these retellings are not simply the outcome of striving to save a few bucks, but rather about immersing one's self in the human experience. We spend money sometimes, scrimp others, surviving on available resources without allowing finances to hobble our wanderlust or soul's desire.
    Bindi Girl shares a view from within - within her heart, mind, and spirit - as well as within the intricate culture and countryside of India. It is a view of intimacy that can get uncomfortable at times, like all intense relationships, but with all its colour, energy, dirt, humour, poignance, heat and love, is infinitely more rewarding than the view from a window at the Hyatt.