Following Atticus: Forty-eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

( 179 )

Overview

After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner. Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four thousand- foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing ...

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Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

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Overview

After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner. Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four thousand- foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.

Following Atticus is an unforgettable true saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family, as one remarkable animal opens the eyes and heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman to the world's beauty and its possibilities.

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Editorial Reviews

Manchester Union Leader
“How can you go wrong with a cute little dog who braved the White Mountains’ highest peaks time and again…over the ice, snow and sometimes deadly uncertainty of wild winter altitude in New Hampshire? Far more than just a typical man–and–his–dog account…Ryan and Atticus have delivered on all counts.”
The Day (Connecticut)
“Need your faith in humanity restored? Read this book. It’s lovely to learn about our higher selves from an unlikely source like Atticus M. Finch.”
AMC Outdoors
“Not your standard mountain adventure book. . . . Reading Following Atticus can feel like taking a long walk, or a series of walks, with a great storyteller. Why ‘follow Atticus?’ Because, [Ryan says], ‘Dogs, like mountains, bring you back to yourself.’”
NEIBA
#2 New England Bestseller List
Appalachia
“Ryan . . . is an engaging storyteller whose humorous, self-deprecating descriptions evoke Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America.”
Boston Globe
#5 Boston Globe bestseller
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061997112
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 60,323
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan is the founder of the Newburyport, Massachusetts, newspaper the Undertoad and served as its publisher and editor for more than a decade. In 2007 he moved to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch. Over the last five years, Tom and Atticus have climbed more than 450 four-thousand-foot peaks. After raising thousands of dollars for Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the pair was inducted into the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hall of Fame. Tom currently writes the popular The Adventures of Tom & Atticus column in the Northcountry News and Mountainside Guide, and the blog The Adventures of Tom & Atticus. Tom and Atticus live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

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Table of Contents

Prologue x

Part I Innocence Lost, Innocence Found

1 A Door Opens 3

2 "Carry Him Everywhere You Go" 24

3 Big Changes 38

4 A Gift 53

5 "People Die Up There in the Winter" 65

6 For The Kids 84

7 The Greatest Quest 93

8 The Little Giant 99

9 Stars to Light the Way 108

10 The M. Is Important 115

11 "Our Faith Comes in Moments …" 121

12 Atticus in Disguise 127

13 The Spell of Agiocochook 131

14 Five Astounding Days 142

15 "Thank You, Friend" 147

Part III Light over Dark

16 A Heartrending Turn of Events 155

17 "I'm Not Leaving Him Alone" 165

18 The Friends of Atticus 169

19 Soul Work 175

20 Bread Crumbs 183

21 Dinner with Frank Capra 189

22 The Promise 194

Part III Full Circle

23 A New Quest 203

24 The Witch 207

25 Magic Is Where You Find It 214

26 Death on Franconia Ridge 219

27 My Last Letter Home 228

28 Those Eyes, Those Beautiful Eyes 235

29 Mount Washington 243

30 Good-bye 247

31 Heartache 253

32 The Great Art of Sauntering 261

33 Paige 266

34 Home 271

Acknowledgments 274

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 179 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(125)

4 Star

(34)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2011

    We should all be so lucky to have an Atticus in our lives

    This is not a man and his dog book. This is book of friendship between Atticus M Finch (a miniature Schnauzer) and Tom Ryan a writer. I had not made time to read a book in quite some time and a friend told me about the blog and Tom & Atticus on Facebook. Once I started reading the blog and then the advance chapters I was hooked. I laughed, cried and was amazed at the friendship between them.

    Little did Tom know how his life would change when he decided to climb the peaks of New Hampshire as a way to raise money for cancer in honor of a friend who passed away. Atticus joined Tom in climbing those peaks, only they did it in winter and they did it twice. No small feat as you will soon see. You will learn about Tom's childhood, family and his time in Newburyport as a writer of a small town newspaper. But most of all you will learn of the extraordinary friendship between Tom & Atticus and how Atticus led, Tom followed and how Tom changed his life. Trust me when I say we all need a little Atticus in our lives.

    27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    What we all need right now is (to be) Following Atticus

    This is definitely the best book I've read in a long, long time. Tom Ryan takes the reader on an achingly personal yet amazing journey with "Following Atticus". This is not just a typical dog memoir, and it's not just a story about the adversities of hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This book shares with us wonderful life lessons taught by a little dog. live in the moment, be close to nature, reflect, persevere when things get tough, give selflessly, love unconditionally. Atticus gently leads Tom to discover his true self, and as Tom shares this story, the reader experiences all emotions encountered along the way. You will laugh out loud, you will shed tears, you will feel the exhilaration of triumph, and cheer for this unlikely pair. Tom writes in such a way that the reader can't help but feel a personal connection to his experiences. By the end of the book, Tom has changed... and the reader probably has too.

    This book couldn't come to us at a better time - in a world where we are constantly barraged with bad news and negativity, this book will remind the reader of all that is good and right and possible. Tom Ryan and Atticus are an inspiration, and we would all do well to follow them.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Great story, great storyteller

    Even if you do not consider yourself a reader, get this book and read it. Tom Ryan is a wonderful storyteller, and his style is unique. He opens himself up in a way that makes the reader see and feel his experiences. Atticus, of course, "steals" the story. (I believe that Atticus is not a dog but an angel in dog's clothing.) You will be better for having read the story of how a little angel dog transformed the life of a crusty newspaperman to reveal the gentle giant of a man.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    Sweet, Funny, Touching.

    If Tom and Atticus were in my circle of friends, I would count myself fortunate. Their intuitive sense of each other is heart-warming and at times just plain funny. They are almost like an old married couple who cherish each other and want only to be in the company of the other. This will be on my list to give for Christmas this year. Kudos Tom Ryan. Keep on truckin' "Little Buddah".

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Outstanding Read! Don't miss this one...

    Tom Ryan is one of the very few people who came to capture the magic of the White Mountains of NH, and actually did! People like Tom are far and few between. This is an incredible journey of a man and his dog, both of whom, without doubt, found their magic here in the White Mountains.

    Whether it's the mountains you enjoy, the hiking, the torment of sore feet, the enjoyment of the outdoors, the thought of following a little dog up some pretty big mountains against some substantial obstacles along the way, or just plain want to take an amazing journey with an incredible person named Tom and one incredible little dog named Atticus, this book is simply a must read.

    Be ready for a fun filled roller coaster ride of emotions that will have you finding it difficult to put this book down until you are completely finished. Enjoy this one. It's a keeper for certain.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Furever Friends

    Atticus M. Finch is one very special little dog. He has taken many adventures with his lucky owner, author Tom Ryan. This book follows their adventures and their relationship, including hiking up ninety-six snow peaks in ninety days. To add to the challenge, it was winter, creating a trek of bitterly cold, snow-filled miles.


    As a journalist, Tom Ryan writes of the challenges and what essentially became a spiritual journey between man and dog. They bonded through a typical puppyhood of training, establishing a relationship of trust. Then they took it to the next level.


    Having grown up among the White Mountains of New Hampshire climbing the 48 peak range, Tom was inspired to do this with Atticus. When this becomes a transforming experience for Tom and Atticus, they repeat the feat as a fundraiser for cancer.


    Throughout the book are memories and recollections of Tom Ryan's difficult youth with his father. His relationship with Atticus and the journey they take together not only bonds them, but becomes a cathartic process for Tom. Atticus and his open, accepting nature becomes the catalyst for Tom's own personal journey finding forgiveness.


    Yes.our pets do that.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Highly recommended

    I read a lot, and this book I have told more people about than any in a LONG time. Love Tom's writing style. Not just a book about a man and his beloved dog, Atticus. For me it went much deeper than that. Truly a gem!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    WOW - WOW - WOW... Did I say that enough???

    This book is amazing. From start to finish. Tom and Atticus take you on an adventure through their lives and the struggles many of us go through. I also was fortunate to get an advanced copy. I can't thank Tom enough for writing this book and sharing his life with us. I too connected on so many levels with Tom and Atticus and what they've dealt with. Do yourself a huge favor and buy this book. You won't be sorry!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A story of friendship and transformation and what one dog teaches his owner!

    Middle-aged, and overweight, Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity.

    In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did, they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home...

    At the heart of this remarkable journey is an extraordinary relationship that blurs the line between man and dog, an indelible bond that began when Tom, following the advice on Atticus' breeder, carried the pup wherever he went for the first month of their life together.

    In his debut novel, Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan, is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the world's beauty and it's possibilities. It was a change that led to a new life among the mountains; an unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family; and an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self.

    I received this novel compliments of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and for anyone who has a deep admiration for pets and the remarkable chemistry that comes out when you are with your pet, you will find nothing but pure, unconditional love between Tom and Atticus. This just goes to show us all that nothing is impossible, it just needs to be attempted. He shows us all the unique ability of communication we have with the pets we love goes well beyond words we can understand, they have to be felt! I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    B

    Here goes harriet klausner ruining another book with her excessive plot reveals. Between her and heart2heart, there is no need to buy the book. Stop ruining books fir other readers. It is rude and inconsiderate.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Not just another dog book....

    Mr. Atticus M. Finch leads, and author and human companion, Tom Ryan follows. A must read to see what can be learned from the bond between Tom and Atticus, and the lessons taught by New Hampshire's White Mountains. This "memoir" has a lot to offer. Adorable and courageous dog, small town New England intrigue, the drama of winter hiking. Something for everyone, with a little extra for the literary minded dog lover. Can't say enough about this story from self deprecating, first time author.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    This is a very touching and worthwhile read... Anyone who is tired of the situations in the world this is a very comforting time out!!!! I hope this will be made into a movie. It has all the elements of a very good screen play!!... Especially the story being set in the mountains. We already own a copy and are planing to give two for gifts this year!! Thanks Tom and Atticus Carter & Stacy and Col Cooper our buddy!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    fascinating poignant memoir

    Newburyport, Massachusetts Undertoad newspaper editor Tom Ryan hiked several New Hampshire Mountains with his brothers. When his friend Vicki Pearson died from cancer, Tom felt a need to honor her. He closed his paper and decided to climb all forty-eight peaks in the White Mountains to raise money for charity in Vicki's name. When his schnauzer Max died, Tom obtained an unwanted schnauzer pup Atticus Maxwell Finch who joined him on the trek of climbing the 48 in 90 days.

    This is a fascinating poignant memoir that passionately focuses on much more than just a man and a dog in booties bonding while climbing mountains. Instead Tom Ryan discusses his estrangement with his late opinionated dad that has left him feeling regret, but between the mountains and his heroic canine, he felt a spiritual enlightenment that has given his pre climbing tortured soul tranquility. This is a super biography of a troubled man finding solace by Following Atticus' lead to nirvana.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Disappointing

    So far, a disappointing read. The author comes across as very full of himself, and doesn't display a lot of insight into his own or his dog's behavior. His dog seems more plot device than actual beloved pet. And he keeps describing to us what the dog is thinking and feeling. Duh, you don't know what your dog is thinking or feeling, any more than you know what another person is thinking or feeling. You can speculate, sure, but why insist on presenting this as fact?

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    A Reminder to "Follow Your Bliss"

    What a wonderful story for those who have ever had a dog occupy a special spot in their heart as more than "just" a dog, and for those who recognize that we can best reflect on what is important when surrounded by the beauty and simplicty of the natural world. For anyone unfamiliar with the White Mountains of New Hampshire, after reading this book you will itch to head east and begin exploring. And if you follow Atticus and Tom Ryan on their "Following Atticus" Facebook page, and review the many photos and inspiring quotes posted there, you will make your travel plans tomorrow. Thank you for the reminder to "Follow your bliss!" -- life is too short to do otherwise.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Highly recommend

    I thought this a beautiful story of a middle aged, over weight man, and how a little dog inadvertently comes into his life. The relationship that developed transforms him completely. A happy story and not sappy at all. A dog is an amazing creature.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    Loved this book so well written enjoyed every word.Highly recommend it!

    Just finished reading this book and I wish it would go on longer, I hated puting it down.such a great read it made me cry it made me laugh,and made me want to start following Atticus.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    Heartwarming, inspiring and riveting!

    More than a book about a winsome little dog, Following Atticus is a paean to the beauty and soul-soothing effects of nature and an exploration of the mysteries of the heart.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    Highly recommend

    I loved this book it made me laugh out loud and cry a few times. It is a book I didn't want to end. Finishing it was like leaving a good friend behind. A very heart warming story of a man and his dog and how they help each other through life and bring out the best in each other. I hope this is not Tom Ryan's last book I hope to read many more stories of he and Atticus M. Finch.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    WONDERFUL Book! If you have ever loved a dog this is for you!

    I just finished reading following atticus and it was a book a truly had difficulty putting down. I found myself going through all of the ups and downs along with Tom and Atticus each time I opened the book. I was brought to tears at the love displayed between dog and owner. By chapter 3 I was also laughing to tears at the joys of raising a puppy who has a strong will. If you have ever loved a dog and known the unconditional love and spirits they share with us you will LOVE this book! It is worth every penny!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews

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