“A Walk In The Woods” by Bill Bryson, 1998

DCF 1.0In this autobiographical book Bill Bryson chronicles his hikes on the Appalachian Trail with Katz, a friend he hasn’t seen in twenty years.  The two of them start off in Georgia with a goal of hiking 2,200 miles to the other end of the trail in Maine.  It combines adventure and humor with digressions into history, ecology, botany, zoology, and geology.  The characters Bill and Katz, along with the people they meet on the trail are fully fleshed out and vividly presented.  Some life lessons are gained from the trail and at the end of the hike Bill and Katz are in a different place metaphorically as well as physically.  The movie, coming out in days, makes some changes in the story.  For one, in the book Bill and Katz are in their 40’s, and in the movie they’re an improbable 70 something. The trailer for the movie contains a lot of broad humor which is quite a bit different from the wittiness of the book.  Having hiked sections of the trail myself, I was attracted to the book.  It was captivating from the first page.  Although the book is written primarily to entertain, it’s not without meaningful themes and interesting information.

William Sargeant

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