• The Sharp End of Life

  • A Mother’s Story
  • By: Dierdre Wolownick
  • Narrated by: Ann Richardson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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The Sharp End of Life

By: Dierdre Wolownick
Narrated by: Ann Richardson
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Publisher's Summary

Wife and mother. Teacher and musician. Marathoner and rock climber. At 66, Dierdre Wolownick-Honnold became the oldest woman to climb El Capitan in Yosemite - and in The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story, she shares her intimate journey, revealing how her climbing achievement reflects a broader story of courage and persistence.

Dierdre grew up under the watchful eyes of a domineering mother and realized early on that her parents’ plans for her future weren’t what she wanted for herself. Later, what seemed like a storybook romance brought escape, with new experiences and eye-opening travel, but she quickly discovered that her husband was not the happy-go-lucky man he had first appeared. Adapting as best she could, Dierdre juggled work and raising two young children, encouraging them to be fearlessly confident. She noted with delight how her “little lady” Stasia took it upon herself to look out for her baby brother, and watched in amazement as Alex started climbing practically before he could crawl.

After years of struggle in her marriage and her ultimate divorce, Dierdre found inspiration in her now-adult children’s passions, as well as new depths within herself. At Stasia’s urging, she took up running at age 54 and soon completed several marathons. Then at age 58, Alex led her on her first rock climbs. A world of friendship and support suddenly opened up to her within the climbing “tribe”, culminating in her record-setting ascent of El Cap with her son.

From confused young wife and busy but lonely mother to confident middle-aged athlete, Dierdre brings the listener along as she finds new strength, happiness, and community in the outdoors - and a life of learning, acceptance, and spirit.

©2019 Dierdre Wolownick (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Sharp End of Life

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Inspiring

Enjoyed this book from start to finish. I just wish she would have divorced a decade sooner and started her real journey of discovery then. Occasionally it feels like she sees herself too much as a victim in her marriage rather than a confident, independent woman that can effect change, but I do understand why she stayed. She truly gives hope to those of us in our 50s and 60s who are looking forward to an exciting and adventurous future, after retirement and child rearing! "Age is only a number" couldn't be more true than in Diedre's fascinating life.

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INSIRATIONAL !

this book is like a great friend, you really enjoy spending time with it and think about it when it's over, remembering the moments. The narrator has a lovely voice and made the book easy to listen to, she expressed the emotions very well. I highly recommend this book, it reminds me of how capable and resilient we are as humans. we really can do whatever we put our minds to.

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Inspirational

As a 50+ woman who likes running, hiking and all things outdoors, I found Dierdre's story not only relatable but inspirational. I'm a former indoor rock climber, and her story affirmed that it's not too late for me to start up again! For anyone who wants to readi about perseverance or just for the love of climbing.

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Ok

It was interesting & definitely gave some insight as to why Alex is the way he is. I applaud Dierdre for her accomplishments; they are amazing!! However I feel like was hanging on her sons coat tails, but then I wouldn’t have listened to it if she wasn’t Alex’s mom. It was well written for the most part. She did tend to repeat herself a LOT…and at one point it felt like a run on sentence & like it wasn’t going anywhere. I barely finished it

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  • JK
  • 09-19-21

Excellent Storytelling

From the beginning of this book I didn't want to stop listening. Dierdre is an amazing writer and much of her background resonated with me. Her ability to overcome obstacles and challenges is inspiring. Her description of how climbing impacts and enriches life like nothing else rings true for me as well.

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Great Book

Great and easy listen. Enjoyed it and found it super motivating in many ways. You don’t have to be a climber to love this book, but if you are it’s perfect for you

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enjoyable

I find other people's lives interesting. I appreciate her sharing her story .
I personally find fiction somewhat aggravating but a true account of almost anything if it's told well, is enjoyable.

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A Fantastic Mother and Family Portrait

Often success in life can be measured by the stressors that created it. A Great read!

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Heartfelt story of a mother

This really was a beautiful, rich, and heartfelt story. I think most people know of Dierdre through her son Alex but she has her own story to tell, and the hard work, will power, and strength she shares in this book is worth every minute.

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Inspirational

I loved this book. If Dierdre can do it so can you. Get out there and get out of your comfort zone. If you are a fan of Alex Honnold you need to read this book to get a better understanding of where he truly comes from.

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  • Belcruit
  • 05-17-20

Fascinating account of how climbing opens minds

Authentic account of personal growth stifled initially by duty and submission. Fair play to author.