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Americana (And the art of getting over it.)

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  315 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2660 miles, from California's border with Mexico to Washington's border with Canada. To walk it is to undertake a grueling test of body and spirit. In Americana, cartoonist Luke Healy accepts the challenge.

This intimate, engaging autobiographical work from an Irish visitor to the United States recounts the author's own attempt to walk the lengt
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Paperback, 344 pages
Published September 1st 2019 by Nobrow
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Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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AMERICANA is a graphic novel memoir about an Irish man who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail after being inspired by Cheryl Strayed's WILD. He starts at the Mexican-California border and goes all the way up to the Canadian-Washington border. During this trek, he meets a number of colorful characters who all go under a hike de plume, which makes them seem a lot like spies from a 1950s sitcom-- or hippies. In this graphic novel he chronicles h
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Kasa Cotugno
Luke Healy, a young artist from Dublin, has loved America from early on via travels with his family. Here, inspired by Cheryl Strayed's Wild, he chronicles his solo attempt to thruhike the Pacific Crest Trail in its entirety from Mexico to Canada, primarily through his own graphic illustrations that are equally hilarious and heartbreaking. It always amazes me that people do this with no advance training, little preparation, minimal research. We share the trail, the highs and lows (literally) (an ...more
Stewart Tame
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Growing up in Ireland, Luke Healy dreamed of living in the United States. And, after watching the film, Wild, he dreamed of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. This book, a mixture of prose and comics, is the story of that second dream.

That's pretty much all there is to know going in. On the face of it, mixing comics and stretches of prose seems as though it would be awkward and clunky. But it reads fairly smoothly. I had no trouble at all getting swept up in Healy’s narrative. The prose sections a
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Tom Scott
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fun graphic novel about a young Irish guy who has an unrequited crush on the United States. So to truly get it out of his system he decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail figuring a full-immersion gruel will do the trick. The story is a bit thin and repetitious, only occasionally punctuated by a bit of drama. There are a lot of panels of him hiking in vast wilderness with the only sound being his "Heff, Heff." (It didn't make the experience especially appealing.) The chapters start wi ...more
Savannah Tracy
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this book if I wasn’t interested in the PCT, but I am, so I did. The mix of comics and written narrative surprisingly works. I think the story is thin at times and occasionally difficult to follow due to the drawing style, but it’s an easy read about finding your place when your place doesn’t want you around.
Michele
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I love: a graphic novel about adventure! A young guy's extreme and inspiring hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Beautifully illustrated, and a seamless exchange between text and image.
Isabelle
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was perfect
Bookphile
It's only over the last couple of years that I've really started diving into graphic novels, and I've found they're a genre I very much enjoy. I've never read anything by Healy before, but I was intrigued by the description of this book and decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did because I found this a pretty compelling read.

Healy's books differ from most other graphic novels I've read in that they sometimes have a lot more text in them than I'm used to graphic novels having. The bulk of this bo
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Kerry Wilkinson
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and drawn.
Thomas Brown
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Luke Healy draws and writes his experience of walking the Pacific Crest Trail. The format is mostly comic, with some sections of just writing.

I think he did a very good job of conveying the scale of it. Some of his "backstory" is interwoven, which is done very well and gives us an idea of who he "is" and why he's undertaking this. There is a great humility throughout, and honesty. I liked the simple style of the artwork and its colour scheme, and I really enjoyed the book.
Emerson
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mistake
It was OK. It could have done with some more action.
Blue
Luke Healy's graphic memoir of hiking the PCT is an ode to the outdoors challenges humans insist on facing for recreation. Of course, something like the PCT is no joke, so to make that your challenge means there's something bigger, deeper, more going on. Healy's desperate love for the USA and his inability to find a way to be in the country for longer than a year and his inability to find work in Ireland due to the post-2008 slump all contribute to the urge to do something, something big and far ...more
E.M. Bosso
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fun, innovative read. I truly enjoyed the alternating style between written narrative and graphic novel imagery. The story itself was entertaining and interesting as the author hikes his way along the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail).
If you can imagine a lighter version of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, or perhaps Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer with a happier ending, then you can get a general idea what this book is about.

Overall, it was well written and entertaining. I really enjoyed the innovative
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Dakota Morgan
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Luke Healy's trek along the Pacific Crest Trail is equal parts stunning and bewildering. Healy's simple art somehow captures the majesty of glacial peaks and the drudgery of scorching deserts. His words, also simple, reveal a man who doesn't seem to know himself or why he's so keen to complete the PCT. That's the bewildering aspect: 147 days, 2660 miles, 334 pages of text and art, and yet it's never quite clear why Healy is writing Americana or why we're reading it.

Perhaps I'm unnecessarily comp
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Victoria
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy reading a good travelogue as well as tales of athletic endeavour. This book brings these themes together as it covers the author's experiences traversing the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) in the USA.

The title of the book gives away one of the themes of the book: the author's love affair with America and his yearnings to live there. This is just one personal insight that the author shared amongst many as the story covered the 100s of miles trekked on foot. The autobiographical nature o
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Nikki
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thru-hiking
I was originally interested in this book because a graphic memoir of a PCT thru hike was interesting to me, especially from an international perspective. I have also learned, yet again, from reading this, that it seems that everyone really struggles to write good memoirs about long trails.
Interestingly, my favorite part of this book were the written in between sections that were not illustrated, and spoke of the artist's obsession with America. It's also important to note that he was originally
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Sean Kottke
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, 2020
More an illustrated memoir than a full-on graphic novel, this account of the author's hike on the Pacific Crest Trail as a means of both better understanding and exorcising his fascination with America mixes prose and sequential art narrative. I've not read Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," though I have seen the movie. Comparing the two journey narratives, I found this one more relatable in motive and likely experience as a flabby dude with little hiking experience and no trauma demons to purge. Epic cr ...more
Chelsea Martinez
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Obviously not to be confused with the Adichie book of a very similar name, I still wonder at the choice of title for this book, which is very specifically about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. This adventure is a good match for Healy's style, and I enjoyed this much more than a darker, more fictional story that I happened to check out just a few weeks ago. The story goes quite into Healy's unconventional reasons for wanting to hike the PCT, which tie into ideas about who is welcomed into this co ...more
Sophia Orachunwong-Pochet
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful surprise ! I wasn't expecting much since the drawings seemed a bit repetitive at first and I had bought it out of curiosity for the PCT rather than for the story in itself. In the end i found that the alternation between literary passages and comic worked very well. Through his memories of his years studying and trying to get back to the US, Luke Healy shares deep emotions and a sincerity that lingers in the pages solely dedicated to the hike, giving those rather quiet moments a ...more
Travis Duke
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: hiking-travel
4 stars for the illustrations. 2 stars for the writing. This PCT book starts off great but the writing sort of fizzles at the end and leaves you feeling a little underwhelmed.

Luke Healy is a young Irish man who has the dream to hiking the PCT. He gives us a great backstory about his Irish upbringing and family. He is a fantastic illustrator and his work in the book is crisp and I love the use of the minimal colors. The writing however felt inconstant at times especially at the end, it felt rush
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Kathleen
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'd love to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Except for the trail food, no showers, same clothes and being really cold bit. So I'll just stick to my form of traveling and day hikes and living vicariously through those who have done it. (Go Krisanne!! )

This was a unique take, in that it was a comic/graphic novel. But it wasn't just a memoir of beautiful scenery and each town and what he ate, it delved more into the feelings. What it's like to be alone, and desperately want and not want companionshi
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Taylor Pavlik
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun, meditative graphic memoir of Healy's months-long hike of the Pacific Coast Trail in 2016. Healy shows off his skills as an illustrator throughout, capturing the varied topography and people of the West Coast with a few clean lines and (mostly) two colors. He breaks up the story of his hike with a mostly-prose recounting of his experiences as a hopeful Irish immigrant struggling with America's draconian immigration laws, but the hiking sections rarely dig too deep into what walking the tra ...more
(a)lyss(a)
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

This is an enjoyable read! Told through largely a comic, the author shares his experience hiking the PCT.

It was interesting to see a view of America from the perspective of an Irish immigrant. I wish the author had gone more into depth about his experience and how it influenced his view of the trail, particularly when he talks about having to leave the US multiple times as his visas ended and the ease in which
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Tracy
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-comics
3.5*

I liked the two color art palette. The combination essay plus comics threw me a bit at first but I got used to it. I enjoyed how the author interspersed his past with his hiking experience, adding context and meaning to what could be a mindless and repetitive journey. The ending felt rushed and incomplete to me, with almost no denouement- I would have appreciated a longer and more personal concluding essay about how he interpreted his travels more with the distance of time. He seemed to have
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Mateen Mahboubi
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A travelogue of the Irish Healy and his lifelong obsession with the USA resulting in the decision to attempt the nearly 6 month trek from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. Healy works with his strength with simple art and some sexy heavy sections describing the life that brought him to the point of attempting the feat. Healy does a great job providing insight into the struggles and challenges that had to be overcome and even the joys experienced on the journey.
Anna
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
so good and honest and I really liked the drawing style. it made me think of alley's ex-girlfriend vanessa trying this trail and all the shit she went through. i liked the real talk about skipping, and bonding with other walkers, and trying to really think about your motivation to do something like this (WILD!) and how it was to be out there while his grandfather died. such a great read.
Reed Bentley
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this based on a recommendation from a friend, and I loved it! I was mostly expecting a fun story about someone hiking the PCT, but I got a narrative experience of determination in the midst of such events as the 2016 elections and the shooting at Pulse nightclub. Though I wish the politics and personal development were a little more present, I would recommend this book to anyone.
Alan Clark
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this graphic novel. In an honest tone, Luke Healy journals his epic hike. With text and pictures, Healy leads us through the geographic areas, the characters, and the challenges that comprise the Pacific Crest Trail. It's an inspiring story --one that encourages readers to advance through adversity in pursuit of realizing their own dreams.
Flo Gourmel
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was feeling like reading a graphic novel for so long! And what an enjoyable experience it was.

I fell upon this one mostly because of the title, thought it’s Chimamanda’s book at first, then I realized it’s a different author.

I felt like I’m there with Luke hiking all those 4000+ km. After months in social isolation, you have a different perspective on things like this.
Carie
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I prefer narrative over graphic novels, this book did not disappoint. There are pages of text interspersed between the graphic pages, which bring much to the table. I've read many books about trekking, and while I prefer more content, I did enjoy this read. (This book was this month's pick for my book club).
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