Silvia Vasquez-Lavado's IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAIN - A Must-Read Memoir about Climbing Everest
Updated: Nov 29
by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado's In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm) chronicles the author's journey as she attempts to summit Mount Everest. This memoir, read on audio by the author, is one of the most powerful books I've read in a long time. I listened to this one thanks to Libro.fm and their ALC program.
In this beautiful and raw personal exploration, Silvia Vasquez-Lavado moves seamlessly between the present time—her attempt to summit Mount Everest—and her complex past, which led her to the present moment.
Silvia is not climbing the mountain alone—she is the leader of a group of young survivors, all of whom have survived sexual violence. When she meets them, she promises them that she will take them to Everest and that they will support each other as they all hike their way to base camp. As we get to know Silvia and the young people she mentors, we learn how she came to be with that group at Mount Everest.
As a young child, Silvia was repeatedly sexually abused, and that trauma profoundly impacted her as she moved into adolescence and adulthood. After the truth about the incidents finally came out, she left her home country of Peru, moving to go to school in the US. She worked hard as a student and eventually became extremely successful in the Silicon Valley, but privately, she battled fiercely with alcoholism, struggled with her sexuality, and continued to spiral for many years. It wasn't until she reached her lowest point that she returned to her home in Peru, and a spiritual cleansing there led her on the pathway to climb the seven summits.
"It is hard to see others when you are so cloaked in your own pain."
That moment of clarity led her on a journey that eventually results in her finding her way up the highest mountain peak in the world. Silvia tells her story as the first Peruvian woman to summit Mount Everest.
Learn more about Silvia on her website. Check out her work with Courageous Girls here. You can also check out her very inspiring Instagram feed, and it looks like Selena Gomez has agreed to star in a film version of the memoir. This one is an inspiring story that is sure to stay with you.
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