From Library Journal
In this slender volume, Urrea, writer in residence at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, documents his journey through the American West as he escapes from a failed marriage and an unresolved past. His admiration for some of the great writers who traveled and kept journals is apparent throughout the book. The beauty of the land and the discovery of nature are entwined with realistic accounts of some of the people he encounters on his pilgrimage. His language varies from the colorful and descriptive to a forced roughness and an attempt to be "cool." There is also a lack of connection among many of the journal entries. References to writers such as Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, Tom McGuane, and others are refreshing details in an otherwise bland piece. Recommended for large collections and area libraries.?Cynde Bloom Lahey, New Canaan Lib., CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A disjointed, gushing collection of musings on and descriptions of a yearlong road trip cum walking tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. After his difficult marriage came apart, Urrea (By the Lake of Sleeping Children, 1996, etc.) embarked on a trip along the flanks of the Rockies in an attempt to bring new openness to his heart and live a more soulful life. The journal he kept during his wanderings says surprisingly little about the broken marriage that provoked them. Instead, it records Urrea's thoughts on the sights he seesbroken cars, playful butterfliesand the people he meets as he drives and walks his way through the parks and cities of Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. Urrea has an endearing talent for noticing the small things in nature (mouse tracks, slow and fast ants, baby snakes), and his enthusiasm for getting to know people from all walks of life (bishops, mechanics, homeboys, neo-Nazis, nature-lovers, evangelists, hippies, rednecks, Mexican laborers) is a refreshing departure from the studied cynicism of many writers today. But much of Urrea's writing is marred by a vagueness that can approach absurdity (``Anyone who has ever engaged an aspen in any meaningful dialogue at all recognizes its optimistic and generous nature almost immediately'') and his constant references to other writers (Abbey, Kerouac, Bukowski, Ackerman, and Basho, to name a few) and to his own process of writing a journal fill this book like so much white noise. A disappointing exercise, Urrea's journals lack the narrative focus and emotional power to keep pulling the reader through his countless tangents. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.