Chantal Simons’ “She’ll Be Right”: A Young Woman’s Motorcycle Journey Down Under

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BY EGLE GERULAITYTE

Chantal Simons, better known as the Chick on the Chook Chaser, is a contributor at Women ADV Riders, so there was a risk for a little bias. To even things out, I decided to be very critical about Chantal’s book, “She’ll Be Right”.

I swore to myself I’d read it with the utmost seriousness of a weighty book critic;  I’d consider every aspect of the book – the plot, the delivery, the flow, the characters, the message… I’d be as critical as I could be, I said to myself.

But as soon as I started reading,  the book did something very sneaky. It won me over instantly. I couldn’t put it down, and by page 27, I was so engrossed I forgot all about my Very Important Mission of Earnest Literary Critique. I finished the book in three days, and I really hope Chantal publishes the sequel soon:  I’m definitely putting that one on my “to read” list when it comes out!

So what’s Chantal’s secret? Is “She’ll Be Right” the work of an undiscovered literary genius that will change the way we think about books in the 21st century? Not quite. But it does what a great adventure motorcycling book should do: it captures your attention, takes you along on the ride, it makes you smile and, most of all, it makes you wonder.

Chantal rides her little Chook Chaser, a Yamaha XT250, around and across Australia, with her dad, solo, and later, with a friend. She gets stuck and falls off only to get right back in the saddle, she crosses rivers and camps under the stars, she explores deserted beaches and soaks in the sun. She falls in love. She disappears in the Australian outback, only to reappear again, covered in red dust, grinning from ear to ear. There’s just something good, simple, and joyful about this book, something that reminds you of sunsets and campfires and old friends, and warm summer evenings from long ago.

“We pack the table, chairs and gas cooker safely into the car and I gear up to go.
The sun is now well above the horizon, but the landscape is still draped in a
beautiful, mysterious, silent early morning glow. After the first hour of riding,
we stop to fill up the tanks at a service station. The small building serves as
the heart of an eight-house outback village where two gravel roads intersect at
a perfect right angle. I kneel down next to the bike. With my hands inside thin
summer gloves, I grasp the engine and feel the life return to my fingers. Sitting
there on my knees I fully realise that despite the slight discomfort, there isn’t a
place in the world I would rather be. The previous night’s campfire
conversation comes back to me. These coming weeks, life will be utterly
simple but endlessly beautiful. The obligations and the busyness of the city are
behind us. Ahead lies kilometre after kilometre of stunning emptiness.” 

– Chantal Simons, “She’ll be right”

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