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Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail Hardcover – November 15, 2010
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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
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I had to laugh at a little remark the author made about hiking over a few mountains in NH named after four dead presidents. Only two of the Presidentials were named after dead presidents. Jackson was NOT named after Andrew. Monroe was named after a sitting president, and Jefferson, Adams, and Madison were alive when commemorated. Washington was not named after a president, but after a Revolutionary War general who later became president. And she did not recognize a red eft when she saw one. Nit picking, yes.....but also a reflection of the fact that through hikers do not have the time to thoroughly appreciate the history, geology, and ecology of the territory they hike through.
I was surprised that the DOC was not more helpful. I once had the same job as the person she saw at the desk, and I vividly recall talking to a 16-year old Eric Ryback when he hiked through, carrying, believe it or not, a guitar.
Initially, I was hesitant to read it due to some of the negative reviews that had been expressed concerning her conservative and Christian upbringing in the south and her discussion about her faith. Nevertheless, I was glad that I read the book; I find that my thoughts often mirror her thought process. I find Jennifer a kindred wandering spirit and giver her high marks for her quality writing.
When I initially started reading the book I would have stated that there was no way that Jennifer would complete the trip due to her lack of preparedness and her inexperience in hiking and camping. But as she stuck with the hike I could see her transform from a scared and naïve 21 year old girl into a confident adult. I am glad that she finished well.
I am glad that Mouch and Nightwalker were there to encourage her at the end. Someone should have dealt with Moot. Dealing with a stalker like Moot would be a good reason to have bear spray.
I loved the way Jennifer/Odyssa told her story. I had read "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed and was hoping it would be more like Becoming Odyssa is. It really is about the trail, and I really enjoyed the overall tone of the book. I appreciated hearing about Odyssa's faith and opinions on a variety of topics; but I never felt like her views were pushed upon me, or that she was a writer with a religious/political undertone to her book.
I really felt like I was on the trail with her (which I loved!). I felt so bad for her with Moot; I felt like I wanted to punch him in the face because he was so annoying!
I would highly recommend this book. Its a great read and I could barely put it down. I actually stopped partway through because I wanted to drag the book a little longer because I was enjoying it so much.
Most recent customer reviews
Need to reread while preparing for the journey. Thanks! Inspirational, honest, and down to basics. Hope i can do the same.