C's Reviews > Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis
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U_50x66
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Dec 04, 10

bookshelves: favorite

Jennifer Pharr Davis is like a superhero but better. We are alike in some ways. We are only a year apart in age. We both spent part of 2005 in different areas of Maine. But Jennifer is the superhero. I couldn't imagine walking alone on the Appalachian Trail as a young female. I once tried to walk a couple miles around a lake after having eaten only a couple donuts the entire day and didn't get very far. As if I didn't think that was pathetic enough, imagine my shame when Jennifer hikes over 2,000 miles on a diet mostly consisting of junk food! Candy bars! Toaster pastries! The way she withstands the black flies alone amazes me. I've had the experience of dealing with black flies in Maine. They are ten times worse than mosquitoes. Jennifer says she starts to fall apart because most of her gear is falling apart, but I believe it is really due to those pesky black flies.

I have already read a memoir about hiking the Appalachian Trail. I was worried this book wouldn't be as good as Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods' and maybe a bit redundant. Bryson is hilarious which made his book a favorite. Hilarity is here also in bits of 'Becoming Odyssa', maybe not as much as Bryson's book, but 'Becoming Odyssa' is important for so many other reasons. The humor is just a bonus. Bryson may go on interesting tangents, but Jennifer's book is much more courageous and inspirational. Jennifer is the sort of person you wish all memoirs were based on. I don't like reading memoirs about horrible people. From her writing, Jennifer seems like a genuine, kindhearted, amazing person. Her personality alone is something to aspire to. Her writing style makes it seem like she is a friend telling you her experiences. Jennifer goes through some tough stuff: a creepy stalker, being hit by lightning, a thru-hiker that reminded me of The Office's Dwight Schrute (though hilarious on TV is not someone I would want to be walking the Appalachian Trail with). One particular event Jennifer goes through is horrible and heartbreaking. But when she is doing well on the trail, it is lovely to read. You want to see her succeed on the trail. And she goes above and beyond succeeding.

I really have nothing negative to say about this book. It is definitely a new favorite in the memoir genre. 'Becoming Odyssa' should be read by armchair hikers, those who actually are hikers and would like to read another persons experience, those planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail and trying to find a primer on the topic beforehand, or really anyone who likes a great adventure.
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