In the first few chapters of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, he alludes to the fact that the Appalachian Trail is never quite like people expect, well I would have to say the same about the book. While it was an interesting book in the fact that it gave a lot of history on the trail and some events that have happened along the trail, such as bear attacks, after the first few chapters, and especially after the first half, the book was a little dull. It was one of those books that if I had went without reading it, I really wouldn’t have missed much. I’m sure since Hollywood made it into a motion picture, which I have not seen, they probably beefed it up and dwelled on some of the more interesting parts of the book, which could make it better, but if not for the mind and creativity of Hollywood, the movie could have been slow moving.
The first few chapters of the book are interesting. They are chocked with speculations on what could happen on the trail, which is quite humorous and little tidbits of information that make it interesting. Almost sets you up for a lot of adventure. Then once Bryson is describing his time on the trail with his trail buddy Katz, the book slows way down, except for the interesting excerpts to where Bryson thinks he hears/sees a bear approaching only to find that he is surrounded by harmless woodland animals, which was funny because of his reaction and hype.
There is a lot of political agenda thrown into the book on top of all the historical facts on the trail; I could have done with all that. To me, I was expecting a lot more “roll on the floor laughing” adventure in the book, as per some newspaper reviews. I wish I could say the book was funnier, but to me it just wasn’t. It definitely was still an interesting read because I enjoy historical facts and ended up learning quite a bit that lead into more research for me, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting in the book– where I could just have light-hearted reading and get a few laughs.
I would not recommend that young children read this book as there are a few choice words and one of the chapters that gets into the bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail gets a little graphic and might disturb some more sensitive readers. If you want a book on the history of the Appalachian Trail, as well as the details of someone’s travels, this is a book you will enjoy. If you are looking for absolutely hilarious, this is probably not the book you want to choose (unless you stop reading after chapter 2).
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WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.