A Walk in the Woods
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- Binding - Paper
- Weight - 9 oz
- Pages - 276
- Publisher - Broadway
- Year - 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
The vast majority of the reviews of the book cite its hilarity (one reviewer called it "choke-on-your-coffee funny"), and indeed there are very many funny parts. However, the deeper I got into the book, I detected a strong shift in the author's sentiment from satire to deep introspection. His observations became more acute, more angry, and more individualized as his long hike constantly brings to his mind the fragile environment of the Trail, the insanity of bureacrats entrusted with the AT, and his own personal limitations.
This was my first encounter with Bill Bryson, and while I found him entertaining, a beautiful writer, and an astute observer, some readers will be put off my his sharp satiric wit. It is certain that he will offend somebody. A friend of mine, who also read the book, was very much upset by the fact that Bryson and Katz didn't hike all 2,200 miles of the Trail, and that somehow their "failure" should prevent the telling of the story. This is utter nonsense and just throws more manure onto the present dung heap that has accumulated from the participants involved in peak bagging, wilderness races, and experiential therapy groups.Read more ›
For the first half of the book, I also really did enjoy the book. I wasn't bothered by the fact that they were unprepared or out of shape. Nobody is really prepared for their first long distance hiking trip until they are a few weeks into the trail. I remember my own experience of staggering along under my overly ambitious pack. I also enjoyed that he talked honestly about the experience of hiking, and I liked the way that he interspersed history and facts about the trail with the travel writing.
The second half, however, got much less interesting. The day trips and the abortive Maine portion were actually kind of disheartening. The whole feel of the prose got sort of mean spirited. He didn't have to walk the whole trail to feel like he walked it, but I honestly would have preferred to see him expand the first half and leave the second half out completely.
There is still quite a bit of good stuff in here, particularly if you are interested in the southern part of the trail. There is also quite a bit of truth about the culture of the long distance hikers. I laughed quite a bit while I read. I guess that the complaints boiled down to not quite being as good as it could have been.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read this for a writing class. I thought the Bryson's humor was a little too glib for a memoir. I enjoyed the story. Read morePublished 6 hours ago by Prescott JNR
Not only do you learn about the Appalachian Trail, but it's written with such wit and humor.Published 11 hours ago by Harriet Manning
This is an amusing story and well acted. I wanted to see it due to review by friends and due to the main actors. It was worth the price for a little entertainment. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Laura B.
Very good reading about the eastern part of our country. Great writing...kept my attention. Would be nice to walk a ways on the trailPublished 6 days ago by Ru