Book Review: Almost Somewhere

almost somewhereIn 1993, Suzanne Roberts and two friends decided to hike California’s John Muir Trail, 211 miles, over twenty-eight days. In 2012, the University of Nebraska Press published her memoir about the trip – Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail. Suzanne currently teaches for the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College (my alma mater), and I bought a copy of her book at the Literary Lollapalooza I attended at SNC last year.

Roberts’s memoir is written from journal entries and drawings she kept throughout the twenty-eight day adventure. Each chapter is begun with a quote from John Muir, and helps the reader track how many miles the women hike each day. It was as if I was right there with Suzanne, Dionne, and Erika, except I was able to shower, eat as much food as I wanted, and my legs weren’t killing me by the end.

Reading this book made me want to have a similar trip. Maybe not an entire month, but a week of camping and hiking really sounds like it would be a fun idea. The women in this book learn a lot about themselves, and each other, during their trip. When they end in Mount Whitney, they are stronger than when they left Yosemite a month earlier, and not just physically. Despite many people doubting they would make it, they finished the trail.

Suzanne and her companions confront bears and a bevy of strange men, along with the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevadas. There is even a fun scene involving an obnoxious couple intruding on their space, and Erika’s decision to get rid of them in an interesting way. This book is equal parts a search for ‘girl power’, humor, truth, nature, and coming-of-age. It’s not only an entertaining read, but also very well-written.

I loved this book, which won the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award. The only thing it was missing, was photographs from the mountaintops. I guess I’ll just have to get out there to see it all for myself.

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I purchased a copy of Almost Somewhere and received no compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own, because I just really liked it and wanted to share it with my readers.

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4 comments on “Book Review: Almost Somewhere”

  1. Carole

    Roxanne, thanks for linking this in. We are starting to get a lovely collection of book links.

    I have just signed up to follow you. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

  2. Reinaldo W. Klein

    I am planning to hike the JMT in a few years, so I’ve been looking for stories about other people’s experiences. This was a good choice. It read quickly, provided a good sense of what the trip was like, and the personal dimension was interesting enough without bogging things down. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in hiking experiences, as well as anyone liking for a “Traveling Pants” type story.

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