Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis

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November 6, 2012 by mamie

—5 STARS— 

Wow! I loved this book so much that I couldn’t put it down (which rarely happens to me with books classified as nonfiction)!

When I was browsing for books to read on my Kindle, Becoming Odyssa jumped out at me because it has always been my dream to hike the Appalachian Trail, and reading about a woman’s journey along the 2,184 mile long footpath sounded really interesting to me. By the end of my exciting read, I had experienced much of what hiking the trail would be like through all of Davis’s fascinating stories, and now I can’t even stop thinking about it!

With adventure, hardships, and lots of humor, Davis told her amazing story, and I was hooked. She told about her funny dirty-dish-free meals of Slim-Jims and Twizzlers, the creepy and annoying hiker/stalker who followed her, delicious “Trail Magic” meals made by generous people for hikers on the trail, her stops to visit interesting relatives along the way, and the hikers “Mooch” and “Nightwalker” who she finished her journey with. I couldn’t believe how eventful and exciting Davis’s hike could be! What pulled me in the most, though, was how much I could identify with her. Davis started off as a normal person and college graduate looking to find more about herself and her future, and she ended up surprising herself with the incredible feats her body accomplished and becoming her version of the Greek Odysseus: Odyssa. Later, just this year, she actually hiked the entire Appalachian Trail again and broke the record for the fastest hike! (She was the first female to ever break this record!)

Reading about all of her hardships, depressing days, and dreary treks through wet or cold weather and then about her triumphant finish was so inspiring! For me, after hiking just 4 days in the Andes Mountains of Peru this summer, I only even understand a tiny glimmer of how challenging this journey was for Davis and is for all of the trail’s thru-hikers. Right now, my friend’s brother is actually hiking the entire Appalachian Trail and is about to finish in Georgia just before Thanksgiving. What a feat to accomplish and an accomplishment of which to be gleaming with pride! We have so much to be thankful for, and nature and gorgeous trails such as this famous one are definitely worthy of our thanks.

Reminded me of: stories in US History (Oregon Trail, soldiers in the Civil War); an adventure-based novel I read when I was little- Stowaway by Karen Hesse; picnics my family used to enjoy on sunny days at Kennesaw Mountain; my little backpacking trip on the Lares Trail in Peru this summer

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