Kris Madaus's Reviews > The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind and Almost Found Myself on the Pacific Crest Trail

The Cactus Eaters by Dan White
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's review
Dec 14, 2009

really liked it
Read in February, 2010

This was an excellent book that kept me laughing out loud almost the entire time. I have to compare the style to that of Bill Bryson's in A Walk in the Woods, but a little more edgy and raw. There is a bit more bad language than Bryson, but this didn't offend me at all since the author is obviously a talented writer. One example was how he named his backpack, "Big Motherf**ker" and his waterbag "Betty the Whore". Although this might not be funny on the surface, it was funny when you hear the reasons for the names.

I was intrigued to hear how he and his girlfriend, Allyson, would fare on a 2650 mile hike when neither of them had much experience hiking. There were people who doubted they wouldn't make it to the first supply town, and there were some that did their best to help them succeed. As the title implies, there were some testing situations: lack of water, eating a cactus, getting lost. All of this made for a great read.

The only thing that I wasn't very pleased with about this book was the way he treated his girlfriend. Although they got along much of the time, he did and said things that just grinded on me and made it difficult to read. He acted out through the "typical male" syndrome (my own description, don't google it). Without giving anything away, this behavior climaxed at some point in the book, and it left me cringing and wishing Mr. White was standing in front of me so I could slap some sense into him.

But all things probably happen for a reason, and the author did comment that he wrote the book as best he could from the mindset he had at the time of the events. Everybody makes mistakes, and I am not judging the man. In fact, the title frankly reflects that he lost his mind. :) So, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good nonfiction adventure book. I hope to write a book along these lines someday.
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09/14/2016 marked as: read

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Jill I can't wait to start reading it! Hopefully tonight! :)

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