After reading Like Water for Elephants, which remains one of my all-time favorite stories, I was very much looking forward to reading this one from Sara Gruen. This book didn't live up to my expectations. The storyline is compelling for sure, and motivated me to learn more about the topic, but the reading of the story itself was dull, extremely predictable, kind of formulaic, and not especially fleshed out in any meaningful ways. I'm glad I read it, I was just hoping for so much more.
I loved this story. No, this is not literature or excellent travel writing, but it is still a compelling story and I couldn't put it down. Strayed wrote this book about 15 years after her long hike, and I love it that she didn't lose any of the 20-something angst and journey that was so much a part of this story by waiting so long to write the book. A lot about her 20-something self reminded me of me at that same age, but there is no way I could have done what she did - walking 1100 miles and coping with all she had to deal with. Great scenery descriptions, lots of colorful characters, a little predictable, some tension, an easy and engaging read, I couldn't put it down. I will read her other book TORCH now.
Bill McKibben speaks for the trees... and the forests, the farms, the mountains, the ponds, and all the people and critters that call these places home. This books was especially powerful for me because I could envision so many of the actual locations he walked through. While the story is the account of a 16 day hike, his storytelling spans decades, even centuries. He's a master. I loved this book. A favorite quote: "Armstrong has lived a nearly perfect life - good to his neighbors and loved in return, good to his wife and cherished in return, in a place that meant something to him and where he meant something." "You can have a sufficiency of knowing, just as you can have a sufficiency of stuff."
Why are the intensely violent scenes against women rarely mentioned in reviews of this book? Yes, it is typical crime thriller/mystery with an engaging storyline and characters, though I am a little surprised by the worldwide bestselling status of this book - good book yes, best ever? Not in my opinion. But there are a few very detailed and absolutely awful descriptions of rape and assualt on women that are important parts of the story, and important to know about if you are going to consider reading this book. I am happy to learn that the author had a real agenda in incorporating these types of scenes and the statistics about sexual violence against women in Sweden - he was very much a feminist and women's issues activist, and an outspoken critic of the status quo in Sweden, and used these books to share some of his viewpoints and messages. We can only hope that since this book is being so widely read, by many many women, we can mobilize in opposition and meaningful action against sex trafficking of young women, and sex crimes against all women. That is the message of this book. It will be a while before I read the next book - I need a break from the stress I felt while reading this book.
Before you finish this book, you might go out and by a lotto ticket or two... Another Hiaasen classic - creative, wacky, a non-stop page turner, plenty of humor, a few racy spots FYI, a good anti-big-development message, but not in your face, a fantastic beach read! I love his stories, and this one didn't disappoint me. Enjoy the ride, a fun and funny book!