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Dierdre Wolownick
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The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Wife and mother. Teacher and musician. Marathoner and rock climber. At 66, Dierdre Wolownick became the oldest woman to climb El Capitan in Yosemite--and in The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story, she shares her intimate journey, revealing how her climbing achievement reflects a broader story of courage and persistence.

Dierdre grew up under the watchful eyes of a
Published April 1st 2019 by Mountaineers Books
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Kathleen  Quetin
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t begin to describe how much I loved this book. It was so compelling that I could literally not put it down. It is much more than a narrative about what it’s like to be the mother of a rock climbing superstar. You will find your heart aching as you follow along with her feelings of isolation during her marriage. However, you will also be uplifted and inspired as you follow her out of the darkness and into the light of a beautiful new life as a powerful woman. She is an extremely talented ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be Alex Honnold's mom, well, here you go. BUT—it's much, much more than that. This story really resonated with me. It's inspiring and will give you a good kick in the pants to take control of your own dreams and shake off whatever's holding you back.
Elizabeth McInerney
"The Sharp End of Life" is the story of how the author, Dierdre Wolownick, recently became the oldest woman to climb Yosemite's iconic El Capitan (Oct 31st, 2017), the USA's most daunting summit with 3000 feet of elevation and 2000 feet of vertical granite. She also shares experiences and reflections on raising Alex Honnold, the first and only person to free solo this same face (June 3rd 2017).

This book resonated with me because I am also a mother of very active boys, share similar parenting
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m conflicted. There’s so much good in this book. I was sad that most of the stories were about Alex and very little about her daughter. Also, it’s quite apparent she still holds so much bitterness for her ex husband. It became a tired subject after a while. I also wonder how she didn’t know about autism from being a teacher. There’s a very real possibility that he gave her what he had to give. I hope she realizes one day that she isn’t his victim.

Unfortunately, these are the things that stuck
Truth Devour
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Journey of Awakening

There are events pertaining to her children described within this autobiography that are a true delight & made me laugh.

Dierdre across the years has learnt that life is never perfect and it is often measured best by the times we continue to stand up and try again, finding new ways to power through rather than be a victim to circumstances.

Dierdre's telling of her perspective of her own life story demonstrates what is possible for a person to achieve at any point in
Jana Kelley
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story, a memoir. I have followed Alex Honnold for over a year because I enjoy learning about rock climbing. I read that every year Alex takes his mother on a climb and, having sons of my own, I know how special that is. When I read that she had written a book I bought it the very next day and began listening to the audiobook immediately after buying. I did not regret it. It is well written and easy to listen to.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a hiker (not climber), i can relate to the healing nature of a life focused on the great outdoors. As a mom, I appreciated the immense love that it takes to accept the paths our children may choose even though we can’t always wrap our brain around their choices. This wonderfully written book encourages all that it’s never to late to learn, change or enjoy this amazing world we live in. As we heal trauma, brand new adventures open up to us if we allow it to happen. This takes real courage.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though I am not a climber, I found this memoir interesting and inspiring. This memoir explores the life experiences that shaped Deidre’s passion for climbing. This well-written book brings insight into what it takes to be a climber, love a climber and also support one.
Pat Janes
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful memoir of an incredible woman, as adventurous as she is resilient.

I came to the book for Alex Honnold's mum, but I stayed for Dierdre's warm story-telling and compelling tales of childhood to motherhood, and beyond.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves a good yarn.
Patrice La Vigne
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was an easy read, and I think the most interesting parts for me was learning about Dierdre's perspectives and motherly view of Alex's adventures. I can't imagine what it's like to live in those shoes, so it was intriguing to truly hear her voice on the matters.
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