Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail Hardcover – November 15, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Davis is the record holder for the women's supported hike (2,175 miles in 57 days, with someone carrying her supplies) in the Appalachian Trail, which runs between Mount Katahdin in Maine and Springer Mountain in Georgia. The A.T. is not only a hike, but a subculture: a community where everyone has a trail name, where there are well-placed hiker huts, trail-side towns whose main economy is supporting hikers, complicated trail etiquette, regular occurrences of trail magic, and a recurring cast of freaks and Christians, show-offs and loners, and experts and beginners. Though the book opens the night before Davis's record-breaking hike, this is actually the story of her first thru-hike, undertaken as a new college grad who, despite limited hiking experience, felt "called." It's the story of her becoming "Odyssa," her chosen trail name. These days, the word amateur is usually used disparagingly, and in some ways that applies here—the book feels homemade, and the writing is often clunky—but the root of the word is love: amateurs pursue activities for love, not money, and that's what shines through in Davis's record of a difficult, painful, and exhilarating world. (Nov.)
"This is the best AT book I have ever read. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, skinny or fat, outdoorsman or couch potato, if you've ever thought about doing a long-distance hike, then read Davis' book. I would rate this book as more essential to the mental preparation for a long-distance hike than anything else you could do." -Dr. David W. Powers, The Coffee Scholar blog
"It's refreshing. [Jen]'s very enthusiastic and she inspires other people. She's good for the outdoors." - Gary Eblen, Diamond Brand Outdoors
"Many books have been written by thru-hikers, but none measure up to Jennifer Pharr Davis' epic. The Appalachian Trail speed record holder describes her journey from college graduate to a student of the trail in stunningly beautiful detail. Her tales from the trail are full of adventure and inspiration, and her writing is as lyrical as her Odyssey-inspired trail name. She offers concrete, trail-tested advice for aspiring thru-hikers, and she candidly shares her failures and frustrations along with her successes. If you're searching for the one A.T. book that best captures the spirit of the trail, follow in the footsteps of Odyssa." -- Bro Staff, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine
"As the father of daughters, I enjoyed Jennifer's story. If you're the father of a daughter who's wondering if she can achieve big things - and everyone has doubts from time-to-time, you might want to get a copy for her- it might help get her on the right trail for great things in her life, too." - Jim Shepherd, The Outdoor Wire
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Based on the reviews, I expected the worst. Most of the books I've read about the AT have been good ones, so part of me was willing to read Becoming Odyssa so that I'd have a bad one to balance things out. I dove in looking for the preachy, overly-naive, judgmental, girl-power, entitled young woman that so many reviewers here complain about, but I couldn't find her.
Preachy? I can recall 5 or 6 times when she mentions her faith in God and/or explains how her faith influenced her in a given situation, so maybe that qualifies somehow.
Naive? Yes, but no more so than most other authors who wrote about their first thru-hike of the AT.
Judgmental? Only if you consider someone judgmental who views strangers in the wilderness with initial skepticism. I seldom backpack these days, but I spent a lot of time in the woods when I was younger. I crossed paths with a number of weirdos. When you're alone in the woods, I'd argue that it's better to be considered judgmental than be a victim. I wonder how many nights the negative reviewers have spent alone in the woods.... Several times she does share her opinion of others' behavior on the trail. Spoiler: There were inconsiderate people on the trail. Some were incredibly inconsiderate. If you believe being on the AT gives you the freedom to do whatever you want regardless of effect on others, you'll find her to be judgmental. If you think it's inappropriate to smoke pot in a shelter you're sharing with others including a 12-year old weekend hiker, or if you think it's inappropriate to copulate in a shelter where there are other hikers spending the night, you probably won't find her as judgmental as everyone else.
Girl-power? Not a bit.I kept waiting to hear her talk about how her journey was harder/more meaningful/empowering/etc. because she's female, but she didn't treat her story like that at all. Her few mentions of gender were well-placed (and subtle) reminders that men and women will experience some things differently on the trail.
Entitled? This didn't come through either except, for example, when she reached a shelter after hiking 20-30 miles and found it full of weekenders who wouldn't make room and who treated their outing like a frat party. I'd say thru-hikers are entitled to some entitlement given their circumstances.
Instead of all those things, what I found was well-written, engaging story of a person hiking the AT on her own who had to learn how to hike the trail, who she could trust to hike with her, and, basically, what she wanted her experience to be. A solo thru-hike is a very individual experience, and it's sad that so many who will never undertake an adventure like this have chosen to nit-pick things that they didn't like about the way she chose to experience and, yes, conquer the AT.
I would've done things much differently had I been in her place (no external frame pack or mop handle, as two examples), but she tackled the AT solo, her way, and safely, and she conquered it. And later she went back for more.
This is a great read, and if you accept her story with the honesty in which it is offered and with a little understanding that solo thru-hiking is different than sitting in your living room reading about it, you'll really enjoy the book.
Well that's me. I ride and hike four times better than I used to and I owe it to my family and friends who provide my support and motivation. Two of those very good friends told me about this particular authors accomplishments on the trail and her subsequent book. I promptly downloaded and started reading the book on their referral but... I could have and would have stopped reading if the book, on its own merits, was not a compelling page turner that drew me deeper and deeper into her relentless quest for personal challenge and growth.
I highly recommend this book to hikers who dream of facing the ultimate test and to parents and friends of hikers who wonder why?
I thought this book was great. I feel that it was honest accounting of Jennifer's adventure on the trail.
When Jennifer was feeling down or depressed she expressed her negative feelings in her writing.
This seems perfectly normal to me, I'm sure there are a lot of times when you don't feel like smiling
and skipping down the trail.
While I'm not a religious person, the religion injected in the book didn't do me any harm and I don't fault her for it.
I've noticed especially on these hiking books that reviewers want to rate the authors experience (or lack of),
their gear choices, their methods and preparedness. (This gal was 21 on this hike!!)
That is not what should be reviewed, they should be reviewing the book itself and the authors ability to relate their
experiences and capture the readers attention and make them want to turn the page.
I salute Jennifer and her long list of accomplishments!
I was intrigued to read an account written from a female perspective and I must say that her account exceeded my expectations ...
It reads like a coming of age story, written with a surprising innocence and naïveté by the recent college graduate who sets out not just for an adventure, but to "find herself".
If you appreciate a story about connecting with nature and / or self discovery this book will have you hooked from the first chapter!
It's amazing what she had to overcome to complete the journey.
Oh, and in 2011 she hiked the entire trail a second time in just 46 days!
That's almost 50 miles a day folks!
(Unbelievably, another dude bested that record 4 years later!)
I look forward to reading more of Mrs Pharr's adventures in the future!
hiking takes it to another level.