Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Walk review and self reflection

To start off this review, I must first admit something: Richard Paul Evans is typically not my cup of tea. He's written a lot of books, mainly Christian-based, and though I think I've tried them all (each one has at least sounded interesting), I've never finished one until now. I've found the writing to be overly sappy, more than a bit melancholy, and a little over-the-top on the preaching. And then I picked up The Walk and I absolutely fell in love with it. Surprise!

The journey from life being fabulous and dream-like, with a successful advertising business and a beautiful wife, to life becoming miserable after losing the business and his wife in one swoop was awfully short for main character, Alan Christoffersen. Feeling completely lost, alone, and heartbroken, he decides to take a walk to the one place he believes can bring him peace, Key West. And he's walking from Seattle.

The beginning of Alan's journey is difficult and the reader will feel his sadness pouring out of him while he walks from one small town to the next. He meets remarkable characters along the way, each more rich and enjoyable than the previous. He camps out in the woods at night and walks the roads during the day, slowly beginning the ultimate healing process.

This is the first book in a planned series, so Alan doesn't make it very far on his walk across the United States, but I loved that about the book. He's taking his time, meeting people that God obviously means for him to meet along the way, and is doing a whole lot of self-reflection. It's not a heavy read by any means, nor is it "literary" in nature, but it was an great reading experience for me. 

I think part of the reason I connected so well with Alan was the tragic beginning to his journey. Alan was confident in his life, with a thriving business and a great marriage and he completely took it for granted. Two years ago, I was in a very similar position, with a job I loved, an amazing husband, and baby that had just been born. I gave up that great job for my son, who passed away at 4 months old, lost my mom unexpectedly not even two months later, my grandfather four months after that, had two miscarriages, and the list went on. I took life for granted and then God threw the fragility of our lives in my face. And in a sense, I am glad He did...I learned so very much about myself and about how life should be lived.

I had to take my own figurative walk...and I'm still on it. I'm not sure where my career will lead me, whether babies are in my future, or if one day my husband is suddenly going to die too. But, I'm learning to take one day at a time, as Alan does in The Walk. I'm am anxious for book 2, out next year, and I encourage everyone to give this read a try. It may be a bit "inspirational" for some of you literary readers, but I really loved it.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

The Walk
Richard Paul Evans
304 pages
Adult Fiction
Simon & Schuster
April 2010
Book borrowed from my local library

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Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian said...

Oooooooooooh, I want to give you a big hug (not to mention have you back in that job!)

Stephanie said...

I'm sorry for your losses, they are never easy. I usually have liked Richard Paul Evan's books, but I think this one was my favorite. I do think that anyone that has suffered tragedy can relate to this story. Who hasn't wanted to just walk away from it all?

On a personal note, after many years of trying and miscarrying my husband and I were unable to have children. I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago. I am now coming up on my 20th anniversary and I keep reflecting on how different our life is from what I planned. But I want to tell you it is still amazing. It may not be what you plan or what you want, but it ends up being what you make it.

Amanda said...

Three Turtles, I am totally hugging you back (well...not all three of you, but you know what I mean ;) and seriously, if a certain boy doesn't mind sharing his bunk beds, I'm totally coming back!

Stephanie, thanks! I've never had a connection with Evans' previous books, but this one definitely stuck out loud and clear. I'm sure it had to do with my own personal journey, but that's why we read, right?

Beverley Baird said...

It was hard to read about your sadness and losses. It makes the reading of books and connecting with texts so powerful.
I can remember after my Mom died 2 years ago, someone said to read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Now that was powerful for me. Thanks so much for sharing your life and connections., Sounds like a must read book!