After reading A Man Called Ove last week, I was afraid nothing would compare and I’d be stuck in book hangover mode unless I picked something totally different from what I normally read. I decided to go to the library website incognito in order to not get the typical porny recommendations made “just for me” and get the generally recommended ones instead.
Obviously A Walk In The Woods was a book that appeared on the list and I remembered way back when I was thinking about reading Wild a certain Georgia peach said I should read this instead because at least if I hated it she was almost certain I’d at least get a couple of laughs. And she was correct. Right from the start Bryson declares . . .
I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, “Yeah, I’ve shit in the woods.”
I pretty much decided right at that point the author was probably my people. To begin with he described his state of living as “waddlesome sloth,” which is a lifestyle I support 110%. He followed that up with a shopping trip to buy necessities such as “a big knife for killing bears and hillbillies.” And then he sealed the deal by taking his old friend Katz along for the hike . . . .
“Jesus, I smell like Jeffrey Dahmer’s refrigerator.”
In case the above didn’t clue you in, Katz isn’t exactly what you’d call politically correct. You’ve been warned so don’t come crying to me about what a disgusting manbearpig he was. Here’s another tidbit at what
Good lord, look at you! What have you been doing? You’re filthy. You haven’t been screwing hogs again, have you, Bryson? . . . They’re not clean animals, you know, no matter how attractive they may look after a month on the trail. And don’t forget we’re not in Tennessee anymore. It’s probably not even legal here – at least without a note from the vet. . . . Come sit down and tell me all about it. So what was here name – Bossy? Did she squeal a lot?
These two were a hoot. A regular Odd Couple taking the reader on a potential life-threatening comedy of errors. From freak snowstorms to uninvited tag-alongs on their journey.
(SIDENOTE: Apparently the role of the uber annoying Mary Ellen is played by none other than the lady who voices this delightful little lady in the movie version . . . .
While Ms. Schaal makes for quite the entertaining cartoon voice I have a feeling I’d want to stab the non-animated version should we ever meet. /ENDSIDENOTE)
To a possible bear attack that had me casting John Candy in the role of Bill Bryson due to this fond memory . . . .
The only reason this gets 4 Stars instead of 5 is due to the fact that . . .
While it’s obvious that Bryson fell in love with The Appalachian Trail on his journey, there is a lot of info dumping that occurs because of this love. The history of national parks/the Army Corps of Engineers/the forestry industry as well a detailed inventory of flora and fauna and random tidbits and “fun” (in a macabre sense of the term) facts regarding different locations along the trail sometimes left my mind wandering.
That being said, A Walk In The Woods is an adventure I won’t soon forget. I didn't know until this weekend that there’s a film version. I hope to check it out soon because . . . .
Nick Nolte was more than a bit too old for the role, but still might end up being the perfect choice for Katz!