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The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mindand Almost Found Myselfon the Pacific Crest Trail (P.S.) Paperback – May 20, 2008
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"Moon Kaua'i" by Kevin Whitton
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Drawing on diaries he kept at the time, White polishes up these memories, serving them forth with brio and dash…[The Cactus Eaters] brings a fresh perspective to the timeworn adventure-travel genre.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In the well-written, laugh-out-loud, self-deprecating spirit of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods and Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally, Dan White takes us along for a walk on the wild side of adventure and love. I could not put it down.” (Eric Blehm, National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of THE LAST SEASON.)
“Dan White forges miles past travelogue to carve a poignant, uproarious, and deeply compelling love story between man, woman, and the land between. The Cactus Eaters is as impressive and enjoyable as the ground it covers.” (Franz Wisner, NY Times Bestselling Author of Honeymoon with My Brother)
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Top Customer Reviews
But particularly on that level, the story is lackluster and pointedly disingenuous fare. Aspects of the author's mindset and personality that are initially somewhat charming become, within a surprisingly short space, almost nausea-inducing. White's toxic mixture of infantile narcissism, insecurity, and inexcusable incompetence becomes evident early-on and only gets deeper with each page. If it ever led anywhere--if the author would actually lower shields and offer a glimpse into the effects of the trip on his true self--it might all be tolerable. Instead, however, the reader is subject to a non-stop onslaught of White's desperate, cloying attempts to illustrate how his asinine behavior, selfishness, and barely-masked contempt for the wilderness are, in the end, great character strengths which we are to witness with reverence and awe. Fairly trivial inconveniences and unplanned events--inconveniences and events well-known to every weekend backpacker--become, in the hands of the author, tremendous and overwhelming ordeals that he surmounts through the force of sheer strength and superhuman will.Read more ›
1) White never tells us when exactly he hiked the trail although his references to popular culture would date the hike in the early to mid 1990s.
2) Some of the drama and dialog seems contrived - which given the likely time lapse between the hike and the manuscript, would not be surprising
3) White's self-flagellation becomes a little repetitive and there were 2-3 too many references to cosmic payback
4) The timing of his two-season hike (he starts in June) leads him to miss much of the culture of the trail. His contact with other thru-hikers is minimal. I can't help but think that if he and Allison had done a traditional thru-hike that he would have had much richer inter-personal material
5) The specific content of this book is eerily similar to A Blistered Kind of Love - which tells the story of a couple hiking the PCT from a dual voice standpoint. This might just be coincidence or maybe not or maybe I am biased.
Overall, I would recommend The Cactus Eaters as a well-written and humorous narrative, but if you are looking for an authentic PCT book, there are better options out there.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was written in easy to follow story progression even the the hike itself was done in odd segments. I felt the author pushed his personal emotions and odd behavior a little (a lot)... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Thea Hanna
Props to the author for writing a no-holds barred account of himself and his struggles. I, like many here, wanted to give him a swift kick in the tuckus at times, but found myself... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Yeah I'm Picky
I'm thinking about a through hike on one of America's long trails and this book held my interest and provided some good information.Published 5 months ago by Christ 1.
I have never written a review before, but by the end of this book, this author was so unlikable, self absorbed, and mean spirited, I had to warn people not to read this book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Brian Sweet
One of the better PCT hike books. Excellent writing and story-telling. The trail relationships are interesting. Explores trail history without being excessive. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Norman Osborn
This was the 10th PCT book that I read. It was a couple months ago now so I don't remember much about it except that it was an okay book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sage Wolf
Here is the deal. The writer is immature, selfish, and unpleasant much of the time *and* his long-suffering girlfriend is somewhat creepy in her own way (what's with the making up... Read morePublished 11 months ago by MMMouse
Funny but it definitely had a weird, sad, drawn out endingPublished 13 months ago by Sheena J Creed
Really enjoyed this story, especially the humor and honesty. I hope that I can get out there one of these days. Thanks again, Jim.Published 13 months ago by Jim