I discovered this book when I attended the traveling version of the Banff Film Festival, which is all about "outdoor" themed films and literature. This book won several awards, and it deserved them.
Tim Cope is a writer who takes this journey, not a dude who stumbles through the desert and then writes about it. The fact that he is a writer makes this book good. The fact that it is such a personal story makes it great.
This story is raw. Cope is super passionate about the nomads and the countries he visits. He really puts everything on the line for this experience.
I loved how he writes about the people he meets, his relationships with his animals, and his personal life. He also throws in a lot of historical facts about the regions he visits. The great thing is how they all work together. Some of the topics, like what the horses eat every day, could get dry, but he mixes it up with the other topics and it all just comes together so fluidly.
The narrator only gets three stars because he's way too dry. Cope's passion, and fears, and joys were sometimes lost in this reading. I think I would have enjoyed this story more if I'd read it instead of listening to it.
I loved Grandma Gatewood. She's quirky and ornery and stronger than maybe any other character I've ever known. She suffers gracefully and graciously, which of course makes her perfect for the Appalachian trial. I was inspired by her strength on many levels.
The story only gets four stars because I felt like Montgomery didn't completely do her justice. I felt like this story just scratched the surface of her and what she experienced. There was too much "filler" in the story about the politics of the time, and other topics that didn't belong in this story. I wished there was a lot more detail about her.
The narrator was perfect. Lawlor gives a lightness to the story that highlights the quirkiness of Grandma Gatewood and of the situations she gets herself in.
I've already recommended this book to several of my friends.
Too often, books written based on a true story include too much hyperbole in turning the main character into a hero that did nothing wrong. This story is raw, and honest, and believable, and really well told.
The best part about this story is that it's true. No really, it's true. As you join Simpson in this tale, you'll find yourself saying "no way," but wow, it really happened.
The end of this story wrapped it up so well for me. I won't spoil anything in case you don't already know what happens, but I'll say, that any questions I had were answered by the end.
Whether you are a skier, a hiker, a mountaineer, or just love a great story about human strength and endurance, you'll love this story.