Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Twenty-Ninth Day” as Want to Read:
The Twenty-Ninth Day
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Twenty-Ninth Day

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,225 ratings  ·  211 reviews

A six-hundred-mile canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness is a seventeen-year-old’s dream adventure, but after he is mauled by a grizzly bear, it’s all about staying alive.

This true-life wilderness survival epic recounts seventeen-year-old Alex Messenger’s near-lethal encounter with a grizzly bear during a canoe trip in the Canadian tundra. The story follows Alex and his fi

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Blackstone Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Twenty-Ninth Day, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Twenty-Ninth Day

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,225 ratings  ·  211 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Twenty-Ninth Day
NAT.orious reads ☾
4.25 enthralled ★★★★✩
This book is for you if… a stunning cover, combined with an autobiographic survival story with lots of love for the wonders and weirdnesses of nature, wake your interest.

EDIT: I really want this to be translated into German, my Dad would LOVE this!

Gut-wrenching doesn't even begin to describe what I've felt reading Alex's words. I think at some point I even experienced sympathy pains. The simplicity of Alex's story-telling bears an honesty to it that makes i
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, ebook-en
Wow, what an amazing story of survival in the deep tundra. This book is very descriptive of what happened to Alex on his journey. From the start you get sucked into this story and it is like you are there. You feel the anxiety growing and you know something is going to happen. One minus point because sometimes the technical terms for canoeing were a little too much for my taste but overall great read!

This is a ARC from the publisher, which I got for a honest review.

Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book recounts the true story of the author's trip through the Canadian wilderness at 17. Alex Messenger spent summers and winter breaks trekking through the wilderness building up to this longest and most remote trek available from Camp Menogyn. 42 days of hiking, canoeing, portaging.....sleeping, eating and living in the wilderness with five other teens. 42 days of wild rivers, lakes, and forest. Fresh air and freedom. A 17 year old boy's dream. Until.....

......the grizzly bear.

I love adv
♥ Sandi ❣
3.75 stars Thanks to Edelweiss and Blackstone Publishing for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Publishes November 12, 2019.

Six men start on the canoe trip of their dreams - 600 miles in the Canadian desolate wilderness, on raging rapids and as self contained as they believe they need to be.

However, Alex, the youngest member at 17, does not end his trip as he had predicted. During the trip Alex encounters a grizzly bear. Mauled, severely bitten, but miraculously alive, this is Alex's sto
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
The author does a great job describing the attack by the bear, and his feelings in the aftermath, while also admirably maintaining an appreciation for nature. He expresses fear of the bear without demonizing it. However, this is a memoir, and everything surrounding this was a bit dry. The book jumps right in to the trip in Canada. There's very little information about Alex, who he was at the time What were his interests? What was his family like? Did he have siblings? (I still have no idea). The ...more
Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
If it indicates anything, I flew through this book in about a day.

The Twenty-Ninth Day is a memoir about Alex Messenger's fateful trip into the Canadian tundra and the bear attack that changed his life. If anything, the writing is easy to read, the descriptions of nature are engaging. If you know anything about my reading taste, you know that I love descriptions of nature, whether the prose is spare or purple. In that sense, you're gonna be so satisfied with this book. You can tell that Mess
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick read for me. I flew through it, wanting to know what happens next at every turn. I didn't know much about canoeing and enjoyed learning some about it. A lot can go wrong on these adventures and the determination to keep going strong, to not be beaten, is very evident. The book is well-written and had me emotional at a few points. I highly recommend. ...more
Connie Chaffee
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cool book. Definitely worth the read if you like outdoor adventure.
Steve Voiles
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Alex Messenger has done himself proud with this debut effort at writing. Knowing about the attack from Alex, we wondered how he would expand it into a book length work. We were not disappointed. His account of canoeing across huge lakes full of ice shards always threatening to maroon them in a sea of unstable ice and his descriptions of moving through unknown white waters are riveting and every bit as engaging as the encounter with the bear. Alex also did a masterful job of describing the medica ...more
Deb M.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is probably a book that will appeal primarily to an outdoor person. A person who understands taking some personal risks while enjoying the great outdoors. What Alex Messenger survived while on a 42-day canoe trip into the Canadian taiga will blow your mind, even more so when you realize he was a mere 17 years old. This was a canoe trip where all six members were prepared and knew well what they were getting into and what the dangers might be. Besides being an adventurer, Alex is one hell of ...more
Judy Churchill
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a frightening yet wonderful story. I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than being attacked by a grizzly. The wonderful part of the story is the boys and leader on the epic canoe trip working together to save Alex after the attack.
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Everyone's worst-case senario if you're camping in the wilderness. The author did a good job covering his perspective, but where were the others? Including them would have made this an amazing story. ...more
Pendra Nachteule
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Nonfiction November / true challenge
Justin Brendel
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A clear retelling of the trip of a lifetime. Alex and his friends take an ambitious canoe trip through Canada, armed with a sat phone, three canoes, two barrels of food, and backpacks. On day 29 of the trip, Alex is mauled by a grizzly bear. The group has to endure crazy weather, musk oxen, river rapids, and now a grizzly bear attack. Alex went through enormous challenges, and Dan, his triage doctor and canoe-mate, participated in some cringe-worthy field-hospital procedures.

The book is well-wr
Jun 15, 2020 added it
Messenger and five other Minnesotans took up the challenge of a monster canoe trip in the Northwest Territories in 2005. It was here, by himself, on a stony ridge that he crossed paths with a grizzly bear and was mauled. I felt impatient reading about the early part of this canoe trip waiting for the attack to happen. The description of the attack and all that took place after (including the groups attempt to finish the trip!) is page turning stuff. Messenger is something of a mystic and his way ...more
Susan Gallagher
Interesting first-hand account, but the author somehow never set the scene for me.
Nothing at all about the camp program from which the trip originated and nearly nothing on the five other people on the expedition. Detailed descriptions of EVERY SINGLE lake trout they caught (and there were a LOT) but it's not until halfway through the book we get some description of the canoes they're in.
Short on grizzly biology and behavior, heavy on dressing and redressing the bite wound.
The route was descri
Kimberly Hornberger
I’m a sucker for survival stories, but this felt dry to me. Just a who, what, when, where. I felt no connection with the people, they were just backdrops to nature. I felt like he started to get into the emotion after the bear attack, but then it was “oh and I got medical help, the end.” It felt cut short. I wanted more of the recovery, more of how it shaped who he is today.

Amazing adventure and power to people who find the endless frozen tundra interesting... but, if anything, it cemented into
Susan Birrell
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I kept having to remind myself this was the journey of a 17 year old!!!
"Forty two days of canoeing Canada's wild rivers and lakes. I was Seventeen"
A massive tale of adventure by six young men.
Even the pilot's words resonate - "well...enjoy the flies. I think you're crazy but have a safe trip"
So begins their journey.
Took no time to devour this read.
It is hard to even begin to imagine the fear Alex endured....the courage it took to survive.
Scott Helms
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Off the charts good writing, and reads like fiction

An adventure of a lifetime goes horribly wrong, but remains the adventure of a lifetime. A story of bonding, coming of age, survival, and the great outdoors. All this combined with a rare and beautiful style of writing. No half stars here, a full FIVE.
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would be a 3.5 if I had half stars. I really loved the nature imagery, the description of the trip, and even the way he described the aftermath of his injury. However, I found the authors style very terse and generally detached. It was very much a recounting of an adventure and lacked some of the introspection and perspective I hoped for. Ultimately I don’t want to dock him too much, cause these young men are braver and more adventurous than I’ll ever be. Seems like the trip of a lifet ...more
Jeffy Eugene
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a story this young man lived to tell! A great story of survival in the harshest of elements. If you have any interest in outdoor survival stories, I would most highly recommend this book. Incredibly well written!
Michael Dault
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: survival
Who is going to give this a bad review? What, you're going to judge if this man's survival story was interesting? Please. Great human survival experience that made the writer stronger. While he was looking for something during his journey in the bush, he came out of it with a deep respect of the wild and he himself became stronger, not only physically, but mentally as well. Oh, and props to his buddies and the guide for their quick reacting and quick thinking methods of first aid. ...more
Josh Sieders
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Intriguing, if a bit technical and wooden at times. I recently watched Grizzly Man and so this caught my interest as a follow up on the topic...
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
At seventeen, Alex Messenger was already an accomplished wilderness traveler. He had hiked and canoed through forests and mountains across the northern United States and into Canada, and so a forty-two-day expedition sounded like the perfect ending to the summer before his senior year of high school. And so he and five friends journeyed hundreds of miles from the nearest town to embark on a canoe trip that would test their wilderness skills to the limit. They were not quite alone, as a group of ...more
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was absolutely captivated by this story. I experienced every minute with each page I turned.
I was so engrossed with this book that I found myself being part of the team and felt the cold, the wind, the freezing rain. I went over every huge wave and hung on for dear life. I felt the pain and
discouragement each evening when the bandage was changed and when their food supply was low and some lost. I would certainly ask all the readers out there to read this story of survival in the Canadian Tun
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: minnesota
Found this one up for a Minnesota book award and was instantly interested since he's on a y canoe trip from the camp my son has gone to and the camp is a lake away from our cabin. A well written travel journal building to the bear attack and how they survive afterward. I want to know if Dan is now a doctor! ...more
Lisa Henderson-Farr
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book follows the trip of a lifetime of Alex Messenger at the age of 17. A canoe trip that will take 40 days of travel through Canada's far north. Alex puts down his thoughts about the friends he is travelling with, the land they are crossing and the challenges they face on a daily basis. Their trip encounters a hitch when Alex is attacked by a bear on their 29th day in the midd
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a slow starter but if you can get through all the technical canoeing terms (or if canoeing is your thing!) it might not be an issue. That being said once you are used to it, this is an excellent read. It really harkens back to the tales of old school adventurers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Any fans of nature or adventure tales, or even just readers of stories like A Walk in the Woods and Wild will enjoy this one. Throughout the book there are quiet glimpses into a wild frontier ...more
Lacey M
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best modern adventure survival stories I have ever read. This book keeps you wanting more and is hard to put down. It is beautifully written, honest, raw and engaging. A gripping story that will stay in your mind forever. Alex brings you into his mind before, during and after a life-altering grizzly bear attack. Though you expect this tale to make you fearful of nature’s powerful and dangerous entities, it actually leaves you craving pursuit of your own wilderness adventure. This is a ...more
Johannah Bearg
Dec 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While the story and setting are interesting the writing reads like a high school English essay. I found it too painful to read. DNF and I always try to finish.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Hounds of the Basket Stitch
  • If I Live Until Morning: A True Story of Adventure, Tragedy and Transformation
  • Christmas Shopaholic
  • Fighting for your Life: Man-eater Bears
  • The Autoimmune Protocol Meal Prep Cookbook: Weekly Meal Plans and Nourishing Recipes That Make Eating Healthy Quick  Easy
  • The Power of Heart: When and How to Get Out of Your Brain
  • The Easy Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan: 4 Weeks to Jump-start Your Journey to Lifelong Health
  • Social Media Strategy: A Practical Guide to Social Media Marketing and Customer Engagement
  • Homemade Yogurt  Kefir: How to Make and Use Probiotic-Rich Dairy Ferments
  • Moments of Peace for Moms: 365 Daily Devotions from Our Daily Bread
  • DIY for Renters: Practical Instruction for Apartment and House Renters
  • Essential Oils for Beginners: A Guide to What They Are & How to Use Them
  • Jet Girl: My Life in War, Peace, and the Cockpit of the Navy's Most Lethal Aircraft
  • Little Delights in Leather: Charming Projects to Use Every Day
  • The Draw Any Animal Book: Over 150 Simple Step-by-Step Drawing Sequences for Every Kind of Creature
  • Crafting Cute: Polymer Clay the Kawaii Way: 50 Fantastically Fun Projects
  • Wonder Art Workshop: Creative Child-Led Experiences for Nurturing Imagination, Curiosity, and a Love of Learning
  • The Ultimate Guide to Preserving and Canning: Foolproof Techniques, Expert Guidance, and 110 Recipes from Traditional to Modern
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Alex Messenger is a Duluth, Minnesota, author, marketer and photographer who, at seventeen, was mauled by a grizzly bear. In the decade since, he's worked as a wilderness guide and volunteer search-and-rescue operator. His love of adventure, nature, and cultures has taken him all over the globe, but the north woods and canoe country have always been among his favorite subjects. His work has appear ...more

Related Articles

Gather 'round because we're going to talk books. It's our favorite topic, of course. Here at Goodreads, the editorial team can't escape books...
98 likes · 16 comments
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with that there is. —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea” 0 likes
“robe, the tiny purple amulet looking heavy between his bulging knuckles. I remembered a relevant lesson about worry and the needless suffering that it causes. We worry about so many things in life, and in most cases, there is no reason for it. If something we’re dealing with is worrisome, better to transfer that worry into action and confront or prepare for the circumstance. If it is out of our control entirely, then we can’t influence the outcome anyway, no matter how much we let it consume us—so we shouldn’t let it occupy our minds.” 0 likes
More quotes…