The Art of Holding on and Letting Go
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"When every piece falls into place, it's like a dance, a delicate but powerful balancing act. The art of holding on and letting go at the same time."
Competitive climber Cara Jenkins feels most at home high off the ground, clinging to a rock wall by her fingertips. She's enjoyed a roaming life with her mountaineering parents, making the natural world her jungle gym, the writings of Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau her textbooks. But when tragedy strikes on an Ecuadorian mountaintop, Cara's nomadic lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt.
Starting over at her grandparents' home in suburban Detroit, Cara embarks on a year of discovery, uncovering unknown strengths, friendships, and first love. Cara's journey illustrates the transformative power of nature, love and loss, and discovering that home can be far from where you started.
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A Gripping and Timeless Tale
I am not a climber, but suddenly am inspired to hit the mountains after reading this gem of a book! As Bartley Lenz continually stresses throughout this finely crafted story, mountain climbing teaches you to appreciate the smallest luxuries in life. I also learned that that mountain climbing helps teach you about being prepared for sudden changes in nature and in life. The protagonist, Cara Jenkins, a rising star in mountain climbing, is confronted with a devastating loss. While she has learned how to navigate some of the steepest cliffs, she must now learn how to navigate the sometimes rough and tumble terrain of the real world. I loved the fact that Cara is transplanted from the lush California countryside to urban, gritty Detroit. Although this may be the author's first book, she is a fantastic writer. The intricate plot was excellent and woven with great expertise. The dialogue was crisp, funny and very believable. I enjoyed the keen observations, the various nuances and the selections from Dillard, Thoreau and Muir. One example of Bartley Lenz's powerful writing is this passage: "I closed the notebook and stood at the window. A few clumps of brown, droopy leaves clung to their branches. But the trees were mostly bare now. Exposed to the chill that saturated the air. Heavy clouds had veiled the sun and made the night even darker. I couldn't see a single star in the sky. The moon was nothing more than a thin fuzzy hole. A promise in the distance." Not only does the author thoroughly explore the nature of nature and humankind's communion with nature (e.g. the Kensington Metropark passage), but perhaps more importantly, the complex and tumultuous nature of humankind. Cara's exciting transformation from a relatively naive girl to a young resilient woman is inspired writing and tremendously inspirational for all readers-- young and old, male and female. Bravo!