My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The author received the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Award for 2012, holds the current speed record holder for thru-hiking Appalachain Trail (2011), and is also a compelling writer. I could not put this book down, and read it in one day.
How is it that this book isn’t more widely read?
How can it be that this book is absent on bookshelves in stores, while “Wild”, Cheryl Strayed’s account of a partial 1100 mile hike from 1995 on the Pacific Crest Trail is now known by practically everyone in America?
It’s got to be politics and marketing.
I first heard about “Wild” sometime early in 2012, in a brief paragraph in Outside Magazine, focused on the fact that Knopf published an initial 100,000 hardbound copies of the $26 book. Outside questioned how a book about hiking could reach that number, suggesting that they may not have even read it themselves. How could they? In early March, I scooted over to Amazon to check it out, where I learned that the book had not even been released to the pubic ! I didn’t rate Wild very highly, because it wanted to read a book about backpacking, which doesn’t appear in Wild until you’ve reached page 100. My own Goodreads review of that book is here http://wp.me/pa3BR-LZ .
But enough with Wild, this is a much better book, a book that stands on its own as a personal account of what it is like to experience the Appalachian Trail, and also to grow up.
Jennifer Davis was a complete novice when she completed her first thru-hike of the AT in 2005. At the time, she had never never slept alone, nor had she ever ate alone a restaurant. She endured far more discomfort than was necessary, due to her lack of knowledge about what to do out there. Farr Davis is believable, you feel for her loneliness, discomfort, and her considerable triumph.