- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3 edition (May 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1475247419
- ISBN-13: 978-1475247411
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Women of the Way: Embracing the Camino 3rd Edition
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About the Author
Jane V. Blanchard, an award-winning author, was born in Hartford, Connecticut. She lived in Hampstead, New Hampshire, twenty-three years before moving to Sarasota, Florida, where she now resides. Jane loves the outdoors. She climbed her first mountain, Mount Washington, in 1974. Since that initial ascent, Jane has climbed twenty of the forty 4,000-foot mountains in New England. She started mountain bike racing at age 50; in 2002, she won second place in the Masters Division EFTA Championship Series. In September and October 2011, Jane, then a sexagenarian, hiked the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain. As she walked, she talked with women from different nations. The book, Women of the Way: Embracing the Camino, weaves these conversations with Jane's journey. When Jane married in 1974, her husband, Dennis and she joked about creating a lifetime of memories to chat about when sitting in their rockers in old age. Now that she is approaching 70 years old, Jane is still creating memories, experiencing life as fully as possible, and looking forward to a long future.
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Top customer reviews
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Regret the $$ I've spend on this.
Why? I'll tell you my bias/view of it:
... even though it's called Women of the Way -- one has to get past page 60 before one reads anything about anyone but the author ... who is rattling and prattling on about this and that.
The only highlights (for me) where the bits when other women were given space to share their accounts of what brought them to this Camino/Pilgrimage.
The rest was about a women aching and complaining her way across France/Spain.
Her mate Dennis deserves a medal --- simply for putting up with her.
Her 'voice' was so un-feeling, detached in a way, lacking aliveness to a severe degree (did she think that's the best way to convey something of such magnitude?)-it had me wondering if I was reading a travel tale from a corpse on holiday.
And - it was all about her ... on and on and on...
And what Dennis did for her ... yield to her to bottom bunk; adjusted his preference so she could do xyz ...
At one point, Cruz de Ferro or so, where pilgrims leave behind stones, etc as a symbol of their 'burden' - he was noted as having said that he's glad that she did not leave him behind.
Well - I was amazed that he did not leave HER behind there at that iron cross ...
And I was looking for something she did for him for a change -
she maybe did , but alas ... it was not mentioned. But one can hope ...
I've read many accounts about this pilgrimage - to gather impressions others had during the pilgrimage, how it moved them, how they allowed this journey to really penetrate them below the level of personality ... and none was so dreary and boring as the book Jane wrote.
I've read accounts in English, Italian and German from men and women who walked the camino... her's was the most "blah" account.
Uninspired, vapid, tedious ....
Okay - she's a self-confessed Type A personality, generally not known for consideration for others.
And of brother, does that show.
Oh, i forgot: Of course Type A is all about them. (Is there another option???)
So, if you like that sort of tale ... go ahead ... spend your money, waste your time..
you might like it.
I will get rid of that book ASAP ....library, or simply the recycle bin.
it's not even helpful to get good info about the tips and pointers for the Camino.
Other books are much more suited for that.
Towards the end I found myself just 'fast forwarding' through her tales and skipping to the sections where other women were gracious enough to share their stories ....
just like with a bad film on dvd ...fast forward...
At the end she does mention that she felt the camino had changed her --- (for the better)
sigh of relief !
The most written about Camino route is the Camino Frances and although the author treks through the same landscape, following the same yellow arrows to same towns and villages, eating the same pilgrim menus and sleeping in the same albergues as all of the other pilgrim authors (and although she suffers the same trials and tribulations of blisters, upset tummy, tendinitis etc), this book is saved by the interviews she has with 'peregrinas' on and off the road to Compostela.
There are a few inaccuracies that might influence future pilgrims reading the book. The old pilgrim albergue in Roncesvalles sleeps 130 and the new one 175 pilgrims not 300, which the writer says is typical on the Camino. There are actually very few such large albergues - the largest being the albergue in Ponferrada which sleeps 250. The monastery in Leon sleeps 132 and the municipal albergue in Melide sleeps 130 but these are exceptions.
Jane writes than in the Holy Year one must walk the last 100km to Santiago to earn a plenary indulgence. This is not true - one only has to visit the tomb of the saint (not wealk there) and comply with the requirements for earning an indulgence - which are only for Catholic pilgrims and not for the masses!
'Women of the Way' is a combination of 'All the Good Pilgrims' by Robert Ward and 'Call of the Camino' by Robert Mullen. Thankfully there is no proselytizing. She ends the book with a few post-camino comments which I found interesting.
A good book for anyone - especially a woman - planning on walking the Camino to Santiago.
It's not a terrible book. It's a book that thinks it speaks to women, but misses the mark. Big time. It rambles, and seems to include haphazard interviews with females, without defining which demographic Blanchard wants to target.
On the upside:
1. Some pretty good tips about how to pack, as well as insights along the way that will help future pilgrims.
On the other hand:
1. I could never reconcile how the writer, who is clearly so connected to her male partner that she can't begin to fathom walking the Camino without him, is determined to write about independent females who walk the Camino. In one paragraph she lets us know that she couldn't imagine doing this without her husband. Then, in the next, she talks to women--with the exception of same-sex partners--who are confident enough to make the pilgrimage on their own.
2. The narrative begins with "We, we, we..." and at some point switches to "I," even though Blanchard is still walking with her husband. Confusing. (Again, an editor would have been helpful.)
3. My biggest gripe is that I don't get any sense of the "Camino Spirit" from the book. Instead, it becomes tedious to the point of deterring hopeful pilgrims. Very few descriptions of encounters with others, of the Camino Family phenomenon, or any camaraderie. Apparently the Blanchards kept to themselves, sometimes camping, sometimes staying in alburgues. At some point, I felt sorry for them, so bound together that they seem to share a brain. Not a Camino experience to recommend.
4. They haul a tent, camping supplies, and ham radio, then wonder why they are tired and get shin splints? Hello?!?!?!
If you are looking for an inspiring Camino story, go straight to Kevin Codd's "To the Field of Stars." It's magical, yet realistic. Also, rent/buy "The Way" starring martin Sheen, directed by his son, Emilio Estavez. THESE will get your blood pumping and make you want to face the challenge of the Camino. "Women of the Way" made me tired before starting.