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Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  4,078 ratings  ·  849 reviews
“In the mountains Atticus became more of what he’d always been, and I became less—less frantic, less stressed, less worried, and less harried. I felt comfortable letting him lead, and he seemed to know what I needed. He always chose the best route, if ever there was a question, and my only job was to follow.”

Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Linda Martin
I don't usually read animal books and have no idea why this book got my attention---but I surely am glad it did. I don't have a dog and haven't wanted one, even though my friends say I need one for company. I always say, "No, I would rather not have anything to be responsible for." My time away from work is my own. Well, Tom Ryan you have almost changed my mind. Tom Ryan took a chance on getting a dog and it changed his outlook. Then Tom went on a journey "Following Atticus" and it changed his w ...more
Bryan Flagg
First off, I must say I was one of the very lucky people to receive an advanced copy of this book. Tom Ryan has one of those gifts not given to all writers. He has that gift of being able to play with your emotions within a short span of time. He'll have you concerned, crying, excited, tense, crying again, yet smiling, and all before the chapter's end. Tom has allowed us in to a world of what some might think make believe, but in the White Mountains of NH, there is no make believe - it's all tru ...more
Apr 03, 2013 Mike rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Miniature Schnauzer lovers
Shelves: not-for-me
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Maddaus
"It's like looking into the face of God" is Tom's response as to what he sees when he and his little dog Atticus climb the rugged peaks of New Hampshire's 4000 footers. For Tom, and for his readers, the climb is more than an exciting adventure filled with difficult terrain, wildlife, and fearsome weather; the climb is about discovering who we were meant to be and how to find and nurture the inner self that leads us there.

I met Tom and Atticus on a trail one cool September morning in 2006. I had
Janice Nelson
Received my book and could not put it down. So well written and moving, so honest without any nonsense that weighs it down. A book that goes beyond all other dog books and is a guide for life. Very well written, quite readable and soon to be a bestseller.

We have a home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Tom's beautiful descriptions make me feel like I am there, even though I am stuck here in our boring Boston suburb instead. Cannot wait to get back to the mountains this weekend. He inspir
Fortunate to have an ARC copy. Loving it so far! Great appeal here - not just for hikers. Animal lovers, those interested in family relationships, the small town newspaper business, and the ability and courage to make life style changes. Should appeal to fellow middle agers out there that anything is possible if you persevere and follow your dreams!

Finished the book in october. A fantastic read for people of all ages, both male and female! A privilege to have Tom and Atticus at our library! A ja
Sep 15, 2012 Maria rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog lovers
Recommended to Maria by: library
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was on the reader's choice table at the library, so I picked it up. It's about the author and his little dog and how the dog impacted his life and how he came to get the dog. It's a pretty good story. At first, it's about how he got the dog and how they became a part of each other's lives and how Atticus taught him a lot about himself. He's the editor/reporter of his own newspaper in a small city. Then he gets into hiking the mountains of New Hampshire, setting records in hiking all of ...more
Before reading 'Following Atticus' I would suggest watching the video trailer for it. I was lucky enough to be at a recent book signing event on their tour and Tom has a wonderful soft spoken articulate tone that is nice to hear over the narrative of the book as you read.

I am a dog lover, my dogs are my best friends. I hike some of the White mountains with my dogs. This however, believe it or not, has nothing to do for how much I enjoyed Following Atticus. OK, maybe the dog part had an influence
The author's strong MA accent may have hindered my enjoyment of the book, but for whatever reason, I thought the book would never end. It's a nice little story, I suppose, but it's inflated to the point of self-indulgence, melodrama and sentimentality. I'm happy to move on.

That said, I did appreciate the quote he used from some excellent writers (Campbell, Wordsworth, other romantic poets.) The guy is clearly well-read, which always earns some respect from me.
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Middle-aged, and overweight, Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity.

In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderl
James Field
Have you ever wondered why some people drop out of conventional society and flee to a life of isolation in the wilderness? In this novel, Tom Ryan explains with fascinating detail how and why it happened to him. It wasn’t a sudden decision, but a gradual process inspired by his remarkable and tough little dog Atticus. Together, they headed for solitude in the mountains of New Hampshire, and the mountains seduced them in a way that changed their lives forever.

Tom Ryan was a newspaper editor which
Ryan G
I'm the kind of guy who still cries when I watch Old Yeller. For that matter, Nestor, The Long Eared Christmas Donkey has me in tears every time I watch it. I even cried when they went deer hunting on Silver Spoons. Let's just say I'm a sucker for animals. So stick a cute dog on a cover, and I'm going to agree to anything you say, just so I can read the book.

Because of the adorable Atticus M. Finch on the cover, it was almost a sure bet that I was going to enjoy the book. What wasn't a given, w
Tom Ryan is owner, writer, and editor of his own newspaper. Mr. Ryan’s paper is called “Undertoad”. Mr. Ryan was not really in the mark for a dog when he became the new owner of a dog. A member of the city’s zoning board had sent a mass email reaching out to everyone to see who could take a dog. Tom was going to just write back to he would be happy to advertise in his newspaper about the dog but the next thing Tom knows, he is responding that he will take the dog. Tom did not have Maxwell for ve ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Joyce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Joyce by: I received an advanced reader's copy and have pre-ordered my own copy.
If you love the mountains…If you’ve never seen a mountain…If you love the stillness of winter…If you’ve never seen a snowflake…If you love the sound of wind through the trees…If you’ve never seen a forest…If you are surrounded by loved ones…If you’ve never felt connected to your family…If you know exactly what you want in life…If you’ve never found your niche…If you cry at anything…If you’ve never shed a tear…If you love a dog or other creature…If you’ve never had a pet…If you have faith…If you’ ...more
Diane D.
This was an ok read for me; I did love Atticus and Max (his predecesor) and I wanted to love Tom...but didn't. I guess he was likeable enough...

I enjoyed reading about the White Mountains in New Hampshire and I was reminded of my childhood. I also think Tom was very noble to make his climbs as fund raising efforts for cancer victims and survivors; and I was very touched how everyone was remembered (including Max) whenver he reached a peak. The relationship between Tom and his Dad was extremely s

4.5 stars

This was such an unexpected surprise. I just needed a short audiobook, one that wasn't full of details and people to keep track of, to listen to while I finished laying the hardwood floors in our home office. I am so glad that I chose this one. It made the work go fast.

The story is about the author and how his dog ownership changed and shaped his life for the better. He and his 2 dogs basically formed a partnership based on true devotion. The author was able to accomplish so much good w
Lisa Litz-Neavear
This book was a choice of the Dog Lovers' Book Club. I read more than half of it word-for-word, but skimmed the second half. This was tough for me to do, as I usually will finish a book I've already committed to! Perhaps because I have several novels waiting for me to read them, I just did not feel invested enough in Tom and Atticus to finish the journey. There was a sameness to the description of the mountains and their hikes. I'm wondering if I would have enjoyed this book more if I loved the ...more
Christina Tracey
This is definitely the best book I’ve read in a long, long time. Tom Ryan takes the reader on an achingly personal yet amazing journey with "Following Atticus". This is not just a typical dog memoir, and it’s not just a story about the adversities of hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This book shares with us wonderful life lessons taught by a little dog… live in the moment, be close to nature, reflect, persevere when things get tough, give selflessly, love unconditionally. Atticus gen ...more
Christina Tracey
Oct 07, 2011 Christina Tracey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is definitely the best book I’ve read in a long, long time. Tom Ryan takes the reader on an achingly personal yet amazing journey with "Following Atticus". This is not just a typical dog memoir, and it’s not just a story about the adversities of hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This book shares with us wonderful life lessons taught by a little dog… live in the moment, be close to nature, reflect, persevere when things get tough, give selflessly, love unconditionally. Atticus gen ...more
Bob Connolly
Following Atticus is the real life tale of middle-aged newspaper editor Tom Ryan and an extraordinary and lovable miniature schnauzer named Atticus M. Finch. Facing questions about his life and following the death of a beloved friend, Ryan and Atticus set out to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s 4,000 foot peaks, twice, in the winter, to raise money for cancer. Can an overweight, tough-as-nails reporter and his twenty-five pound companion accomplish what most think to be an impossible que ...more
Following Atticus is about the extraordinary means by which one man searches for a clean slate. It is about the one, sumptuous breath drawn at the mountain top and about each labored breath taken to arrive there through arduous steps chosen, missteps forced, sidesteps required, back steps cursed, and every foot print followed — to clarity. Tom Ryan’s Following Atticus is a lovingly and well-crafted story that brings us along the often treacherous mountain trails of New Hampshire in winter to the ...more
Danny Choriki
I enjoyed reading Following Atticus. Most importantly, it is a heart warming tale of about the redemptive nature of love, how it manifests itself in the mundane that sometimes comes from places that one would never expect, in this case, the casual reply to an email. I share with author Tom Ryan a love of mountains - including the White Mountains, journalism in a small town and small dogs with large personalities.

As a narrative, the story telling isn't overly compelling. This is most likely due
I really enjoyed this book. While there are oodles of dog-related memoirs out there, this is definitely one of the better ones I've read. Yes, the book is about the dog Atticus, but it's more about how Atticus spurs the growth and transformation of the author, Tom Ryan. I loved that the author tied in the concept of pantheism and included some of my favorite quotes from naturalists like Thoreau.

From Amazon: "Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer A
Doriana Bisegna
Atticus, Atticus, do I love thee...let me count the ways!! This book totally surprised me because I was expecting a Marleyesque type of dog story. Atticus is nowhere near Marley or any other dog story that you have read! Tom Ryan does an exceptional job of writing about his life with Atticus, his experiences hiking the 4000ft mountains of New Hampshire with Atticus and his experiences along the way! The spiritual aspect of this adventure story also completely caught me off guard... ...more
Daniel Schrader
Following Atticus raises no social, moral or ethical questions, reading the book won't deepen your understanding of science or history, it won't even take away to a fantasy world better rendered in big budget 3D. What Following Atticus will do is introduce you to a delightful friendship between a man and his dog(s).

It turns out that both man and dog are in need of a friend, and together they learn and grow in ways that make them both wiser, stronger and better than they would have been alone. Re
What a great way to start out a new year of reading. This is much more than just a dog story, or a memoir. This is a story of love, between a middle-aged lonely man and his best friend, his dog Atticus. It was sad, funny, heartwarming and inspirational. Their relationship and what they accomplished was a joy to read about. Tom Ryan made some amazing changes in his life with the help of a small miniature schnauzer. Their physical and emotional journey both inspired me and moved me to tears. I fel ...more
Sandy Neal
I loved this book! And it was a proof and not finished yet! Tom Ryan shares with us how he learns to love again after being terribly hurt by those closest to him. It seems that the people who knew and admired him, never could really reach him. But particularly after opening up to Atticus M. Finch, Tom changes his life.

This book made me smile, laugh out loud and cry (and I seldom cry)! Everyone who has experienced that special love where their dog was their best friend and confidante, will love t
Kristina Franken
Excellent book. My 10 year old even wants to read it.

Following Atticus is a heart warming tale of healing and of friendship. I found that at times I could not put it down.

Comming from a "broken" family, I could idenify with Tom Ryan's upbringing and hesitant behavior toward being responsible for another life.

I found it very inspiring how Atticus was always looking to take care of Tom. I have seen the bond of master and pet time and time again and am glad that Tom took the time to write his re
Noor G.
This is the first review I have written for this site. This book was extraordinary. I read it in two days (I would have read it faster had I not had other stuff to do). The book seemed like it would be a typical "animal book," but it was so much more than that: reconnecting with family, the wilderness, unconventional spirituality, finding one's self, classic literature, and love for animals.

The writing was easy to read, filled with small excerpts from classic authors like Thoreau, Frost, etc. I
What a wonderful story. Tom is sometimes painfully honest in letting his readers into his heart and mind and you come to care about him because of it. Atticus is certainly an amazing guy on his own and a unique and special soul. The pairing of these two, their courage, love and tenacity made me feel like they had become my own special friends and it's clear that I'm not alone in feeling that way. Bravo Tom and Atticus! God surely has blessed you both and you in turn have blessed many others. Tha ...more
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“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” 3 likes
“I was not a religious man, but if I were, the woods would be my church, the mountaintops my altar.” 2 likes
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