A Walk in the Woods

This is pretty darn close to the best book I’ve ever read. No kidding, not joking.

According to GoodReads, A Walk in the Woods fits 10 genres (I’m combining a few to narrow that down to and so in my so-called “review,” I will address each category with some commentary. Sound good? I hope so since you have no input in how I write this! Ha!

Non-fiction/Autobiography/Memoir: I admit, I have not read many autobiographies or memoirs; I have, however, read a plethora of non-fiction tomes. Bryson’s book is fabulous: filled with vignettes about history, relationships, nature, life-lessons, it is also a rather extensive history of the Appalachian Trail (AT). It has whet my appetite and I cannot wait to read more from him and more about the AT.

Travel/Adventure: How could a book about a man who decides take his friend on an epic hike through the AT not be travel and adventure?! There were many times as I was reading that I thought, sheesh, something bad is about it happen! Bryson and Katz survived, but Bryson’s inclusion of details from hikers who did not added another layer of realism – not that his account was lacking in this area.

Humor/Humor-Funny: Oh sweet heaven to Betsy, this book was HYSTERICAL! It was a great mix of Murphy’s Law and the reality of culture shock as they travel way outside their comfort zones. As it says on the back of the back cover,

“Choke-on-your-coffee funny.” — The Washington Post

Environment/Nature/Outdoors: I learned so much about nature because Bryson took the time and devoted the pages to explaining exactly what is happening in and to the AT. From non-native animals, insects, and plants being introduced to construction, logging, and urbanization, A Walk in the Woods details the destructive influences that have shaped and changed Eastern America.

Biography: This book is not a biography. Not sure who decided to label it as such. Pooh on you!

History: I especially enjoyed his references to past travelers and how their accounts differ or parallel his. Also interesting were his details concerning the creation of the trail itself. In my additional “research,” I found this: 10 Things You Need to Know About the Appalachian Trail.

I originally picked up this book because the same friend who gifted it to me, posted on Facebook that there was going to be a movie based on it. She has since seen the movie and I can’t remember her exact words, but basically the movie is a terrible adaptation. She said that Bryson (a badly cast Robert Redford) and Katz (a perfectly casted Nick Nolte) spent the majority of the hike talking about past sexual exploits {ahem, not in the book. At. All.} and that the reason they didn’t finish the trail was completely changed, too.

My friend still wants me to watch the movie (despite her less than glowing review) and I think I will… when it’s free on one of my streaming services. No rush Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO GO 😉


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