Jessica's Reviews > Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
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really liked it

I wanted to reveal to myself who I was: the kind of person who died, or the kind of person who overcame circumstances to help himself and others.

This is a story that, by all accounts, should not have been told in the first-person. How Aron Ralston managed to survive six days trapped beneath that boulder, with his health, sanity and spirit in tact is beyond me. He's definitely strong, determined and more than a little lucky, but I couldn't stop one thought from forming in the back of my mind as I read through his struggle:

Did it ever seem to him that all the near-misses and almost-deaths had caught up to him in Blue John Canyon?

He even admits that there were several times in his early outdoorsman career where he made rash (and stupid) decisions that ended up putting him, and sometimes his friends, in grave danger, and yet he and they always made it out safe and sound with a good story to tell. Was this incident, this one-in-a-million chance of the chockstone falling and pinning him to the canyon wall retribution from the fates for all the times he skitted out of their grasp?

Going through the book, I was surprised at how eloquent and descriptive he was. I hadn't been prepared for his story to read as a "story", or for him to pour so much of his love for adventure and scenery into the telling that I could see and feel it all.

Mr. Ralston is blessed - not only with his life, when he could have easily remained lost in that canyon, but also because of the support and belief of his family and friends. It must have been torment for him to go back and watch the video he had taken of himself inside the canyon, when all hope had deserted him, and it must have been worse for his mother to watch that with him.

His strength is inspiring, and his will is remarkable. He very easily could have glossed over some of his earlier incidents, leaving out the bear stalking, the avalanche and the jump into the river, but he told those stories with great relish, and embraced the mistakes and the impact those mistakes had on his life.

Mr. Ralston's upfront honesty, lust for life - for living, and the occasional and altogether refreshing bits of humor sprinkled throughout the book helped gloss over some of the more gory parts, and really tied everything from his childhood to the hike that led him into Blue John Canyon together.
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Reading Progress

June 27, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
July 3, 2009 – Finished Reading

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