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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah by Neill McKee is a travel memoir that informs and entertains readers and brings them into contact with exciting places, characters, and communities in Asia. The last day of work at his father's factory was on July 4, 1968, and standing behind the rear wall where he could see the valley and creek flowing past, Neill McKee offers readers the first glimpse into his exciting mind and adventurous spirit: "Despite this toxic playground, I recall an ideal childhood, a loving family, and—as I grew older—increasing freedom to explore farther and farther from home. I believe my love of travel and discovery started here." In this memoir, the author shares his adventures from 1968-1970 while teaching secondary school as a CUSO volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo). The author shares his unique experiences of encounters with Asian cultures, the excitement of learning a new language, the thrill of falling in love, and the adventures through colorful and beautiful landscapes.
Told in an atmospheric style of writing, the memoir explores the inner world of the protagonist and how contact with other places and people, new friendships and challenges allowed him to see himself better. It is a tender, highly observant memoir of the author’s sojourn in Sabah, a memoir that captures both the landscapes of his soul and the beauty of the world that surrounded him. Neill McKee weaves strong themes into the narrative, including friendship, education, personal growth, adventure, love, and family. At times wry and at times filled with humor, Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah is a memoir that is told in an honest voice and will inspire readers to think about how they relate to the world they inhabit. It’s simply brilliant.