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Posted December 6, 2013
An impressive, epic tale, Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail is an adventure story, a coming-of-age story, and travel guide all in one. Jennifer Pharr Davis tells a captivating story of hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail — from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME — in simple and engaging language that pulls you onto the trail with her. Along the way, she meets a wide array of characters, witnesses breathtaking moments of nature’s beauty and cruelty, and untaps a bounty of unknown strength, both physically and mentally.
Pharr Davis balances the good and the bad of the trail so well that as the reader you bounce back and forth from envy to sympathy. Making good use of the journal she kept throughout the 4 month long journey, Pharr Davis excellently conveys her emotions and attitude as they rose and fell with each step. What I found most intriguing was following her growth along the way. She begins as a rather naive 21 year old used to all the usual creature comforts who transforms to appreciate, I mean really appreciate, a hot shower, comfy bed, and home cooked meal. These revelations come naturally and not as a cliched “come-to-Jesus” moment, even though her convictions about religion and beliefs in God are absolutely solidified on the trail. Lessons learned on the trail were fantastic, too. She proves that you don’t need fancy equipment to make it. In fact, she wears sneakers and uses a mop as a hiking stick for much of her journey. A few portions were a little, well, boring when she was alone in the woods for long stretches but honestly I can’t imagine trying to write about walking solo through the woods without getting a) preachy, b) completely self-involved, or c) writing drivel/filler. She manages to avoid all three.
Becoming Odyssa is a great book for anyone interested in hiking and the outdoors or who enjoys a coming-of-age tale. Oh, and her name is absolutely based off The Odyssey, which is one of my favorite books of all time so Pharr Davis totally gets bonus points for having a really sweet trail name. Check out her website, Blue Ridge Hiking Co. where you can purchase this and more titles by Jennifer Pharr Davis.
Posted February 24, 2012
I was excited to buy this book after I heard Jennifer Pharr Davis at a college lecture series. Hoping simply to do a part of the AT after retirement, Jennifer's book reveals so much about the trail and the character of those who desire to hike its full length. I am blown away by her courage and stamina as she does the trail solo and holds the world's record for fastest AT hiker.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2013
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