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End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In the tradition of Cheryl Strayed's Wild, the story of a young climber's struggle to become strong and whole by testing herself on mountains and life.

It's hard not to love Jan Redford from the first pages of her gritty, often funny, and achingly honest memoir. As a young teenager she runs away from a cottage where her father has just put her down for the zillionth time
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Random House Canada
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I scrunched my body under the big roof, preparing myself to commit to pulling up and over the edge, I looked down at Doc, eighty feet below. It was a long way away. My two blond children danced in front of my eyes for a moment like fairies. Your children will be okay if their mother's okay, Sarah had said in Victoria. Did I want my kids to see their mom bake cookies all day and make lunch for a logger, or climb steep cracks and go to university? Which mother would they believe when she told
Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from PenguinRandomHouse Canada for an honest review. I’m attracted to memoirs like this and since it was written by a fellow Canadian and a lot of it takes place near where I live I was even more intrigued. I have a hiker and kayaker in my family so knew of many of the locations mentioned. I am also a camper so have been to a lot of the places talked about as well as I’m very familiar with the towns and cities. What I really have no knowledge of is climbing. In my ...more
Janelle | She Reads with Cats
Thank you so much Counterpoint Press for providing my free copy of END OF THE ROPE by Jan Redford - all opinions are my own.

After reading books such as Wild and Into Thin Air, I’ve been looking for a new adventure to embark on and this book exceeded my expectations in every way. This is a deeply personal, moving memoir that I wholeheartedly recommend. Set in Canada, Redford is a woman mountaineer, who writes some very compelling climbing stories, but with a backdrop of the struggles she went
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
"Sometimes I felt like the only cure for whatever I had was to live in a cabin in the bush, alone with myself, where no one could influence my decisions, my lifestyle, what I ate, said, did, or felt. I was a chameleon; if I sat down beside a blue person I’d turn blue, beside a green person I’d turn green. I didn’t have my own colour. The only thing that had seemed like my own was climbing."

I wasn't sure what to expect with this one and I definitely didn't think I'd end up enjoying it as much as
Suzanne Ross
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My brother had far too much influence on our two daughters when it comes to outdoor leisure (aka death-defying) activities. Hence, they both love to travel to places that are off the beaten path, ski out of bounds and rock climb. All things that keep a mother up at night. To add to my night terrors, he sent me Jan Redford's book, End of the Rope, for my birthday. Jan is a friend of his, whom I have met. This gave me faint hope reading her book; (spoiler alert) at least I know she lived through ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very good.

As a perpetual worrier but do-it-anyway-even-if-you-poop-your-pants-er, I related to Jan. Her writing is also well done, I found myself wanting to continue reading and wanted her desperately to have a good ending.

I just wish the epilogue wasn't so abrupt! We found out where Jan was, however it also fast forwarded like two decades. I just wanted more. That's a personal qualm though, so I guess not a biggie
Darlene Stericker
End of the Rope is a gripping memoir that takes us through Jan's myelin hardening as she makes the difficult choices on her journey to responsible adulthood. Much of the climbing terminology was beyond me but it provided a good skeleton upon which to tell her story.
Elaine Corden
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fresh, funny, engaging and relatable story that dares to hold the risks and challenges of mountaineering up against the risks and challenges of being a feminist while hopelessly romantic, or a mother while hungry for more than motherhood alone offers. This is a fantastically confident debut—I can’t wait for Jan Redford’s next book.
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2018
Bravery takes practice.
Melissa T
*Please note, I won this book via Goodreads Giveaways*

This was quite the story. It details Jan's life, highlighting her semi unstable childhood, growing up with a father who drinks too much, and a mother who followed him from place to place, because she didn't have another option. Unfortunately for Jan, she falls into the same cycle, after going through a bit of a wild phase.

Climbing is the highlight of the book. It's not something I've ever read much about, so those were probably the parts of
Found this book at my local library while trying to find memoirs of motherhood. I'm not a rock climber, so maybe that influenced my experience of the book, but I found it to be really lacklustre. The writing isn't at all poetic or insightful (I got excited when I saw the Annie Dillard quote at the beginning, but there was nothing reflective of her writing in the book), and could have been much more reflective, given the writer's life experience. The long descriptions of climbs and expeditions ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The writing was great! It was a lot of fun reading about climbing, all the different kinds of places you can go and how much variety there is. It's definitely unlike anything I've read before. If it were solely focused on that, more of an information/tourist type of book I would rate it higher for the descriptions alone.

The actual story though was extremely frustrating. Spoilers!

There is a happy ending, but unfortunately you have to read over 90% of it to get there. Before all that, there's an
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jan has loved mountain climbing ever since she tried it for the first time. It was a way to escape her difficult home life. She realized she was good at this and got even better from climbing with others in the climbing community.

When her boyfriend Dan is killed in an avalanche, she is devastated. Dan’s climbing partner Grant offers support and she marries him. She is busy raising her young family and almost abandons climbing. Grant is away from home a lot working as a logger and is unable to
Jan writes about her life as a young adult in the tight-knit climbing community in British Columbia, Canada. Jan jumps from job to job to support her climbing and from boyfriend to boyfriend as it is the 1980s with few female climbers, so she has her pick. Jan then meets and starts dating an experienced climber, Dan Guthrie, who a year and half into their relationship, dies in an avalanche in Alaska. Devastated, Jan turns to one of Dan’s climbing buddies, Grant, who she doesn’t know very well ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast and enjoyable read. The author succeeded in making me feel how she felt, particularly in the middle of the book when something shocking happens. Just as she couldn't believe it had happened, neither could I! To me, this shows excellent writing.

The end of the book was more difficult in that I found it harder to empathize with her experience just because my life is very different than hers. But I didn't judge her so much as find it hard to read. Notably when you read the very end, you see
Prcs Rambharose
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a marvellous book this turned out to be ,You literally feel like your climbing with Jan every step of the way and feel every emotion that she feels especially When her 2 partners die from climbing, also many of her friends have fallen and not recovered from their injurys. I guess this Is part of the risk you take when you climb..... She managed to overcome many obstacles In her life ,and became a teacher , and a mother of 2 young children she was virtually a single mother as her husband was ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read-shelf
I received this book free through Goodreads. Loved it! I was hooked right from the start! The beginning of the book seemed like it was the life I had when I was a kid and the life I wanted to have after I left home but didn't have the guts to pursue since I went to university right after high school and didn't do Katimavik or NOLS like I wanted to, like Jan did! After though, I did move to a mountain town and had some adventure but then my life took a completely different path than hers. So ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Lord, this book is a roller coaster of emotions! I love how Redford opened up her whole heart for this one, how she invited us in and said "look at this mess I made, now watch me fight my way out." In a way it's frustrating watching her struggle so hard, but in another way.... life is frustrating. it's a struggle. We make choices and sometimes they are terrible, but I love how Redford let's us peer into her life and be inspired, perhaps learn from her mistakes. A powerhouse book about ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won a copy of this book on goodreads in exchange for an honest review. Memoirs are usually not my thing. This book had a nice flow and provided a insight to the lives of mountain climbers. Being from Toronto mountain climbing is not something I was exposed to. My only fault is the book seemed to come up short at the end, I would have liked her to have explored more of her journey through completing her masters and her teaching career. Overall a good read.
Vera Wilson
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Won a copy of this. Always loved the mountains, but after reading this may never think of them the same. Mountain climbing a challenge many would never be up to.

But with Jan Mountain Climbing not her only challenge. Sometimes not such great luck with the guys either. She was a very courageous and compassionate person. Pushed herself over the limit many of times. Would recommend to others.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
Goodreads Copy Win

This tells the story of a woman struggling in a marriage before she realizes that she needs to let go of her marriage before it destroys her and her family. A poignant look at how things slowly spiral as we try to make things work out. Set in the backdrop of the world of climbing in Western Canada.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
End of The Rope was quite a read. Jan Redford never once gave up on her dreams, they had to be postponed a few times but eventually she realized them. She’s had quite a life and nothing was easy but she is definitely a strong woman and I imagine would be a wonderful mentor to young girls. I won this book in a giveaway and love that it’s about a determined, strong, Canadian woman.
Win Nguyen
Long winded book describing climbing and a personal memoir. Book was hard to relate to but as a story itself, it’s beautiful and reminds me of my mom’s hardships - if anything, it helps me understand my mom more.

“The way you live is the way you climb".

Never back down in life, you make your own choices - you have control.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this memoir about mountain climbing, marriage and motherhood. The author's struggles are ones which many women have faced. I learned so much about mountains and mountain climbing. I would highly recommend this memoir!
Patricia Levack
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mountains! This book is about the conquering of the mountains that you climb and the mountains that you face in your life. It was interesting to learn what is involved in living the life of people who only want to climb but it left me wanting more. This book was free from Goodreads.
Hailey Van Dyk
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the first half, and felt the second half dragged a little... I understand that each section were important parts of her life but the negative part with the marriage and motherhood just seemed to put a damper on the rest of the cool adventures from the start of the book.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book on Goodreads. It was a very interesting read. I was so pleased that the author finally got her life together. Not being a climber myself I didn't understand all the terms or the motivation for climbing but I still found it enjoyable.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy Rose
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was unexpected. i read it in a day and a half! Jan's writing is so raw and full of unapologetic truth. i appreciated her candor on the rock and off. she made me feel like i wasn't alone in the struggle for having it all.
Wendy Kravetz
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you for an advanced copy enjoyed this book
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