Joyce's Reviews > A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
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's review
Jun 14, 2009

bookshelves: discarded
Read in June, 2009

What happens when a middle-aged intellectual decides to walk the 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail, accompanied by his fat alcoholic former boon companion from Iowa. Bryson is often considered a humorist who affects an effete scaredy-cat persona, but I was surprised how sweet and vigorous his writing often was here. He is particularly strong on the way hiking obliterates time, with the walker falling into a dreamy present-tense for days on end punctuated only by memorable weather, animals, or fellow travellers.

Without giving too much away, the book naturally falls into two halves which are quite different in "plot", characters, and tone. It didn't bother me -- in fact I enjoyed Bryson's puzzled determination to HIKE in the second half -- but evidently a lot of readers felt cheated.

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