The Greatest Outdoor Summer Read

It was under oath that this past OR Show, Jenn handed me her book. The offer, was enticing indeed, so I agreed to read and review. Reading a book by someone I’ve met is never the same experience as picking something off the shelf. In all honesty, I would have walked right by Jenn’s adventures at the book store. Why? It so happens that I am in a long lasting relationship with magic realism and the subtitle of Becoming Odyssa offered the opposite: the word “epic” was laid out next to some seemingly strange fantastical road named the “Appalachian Trail.” 300 pages later I am thankfully, that much wiser.

Jennifer Davis spills her guts so openly and honestly in her lines that had I not known her, I would have certainly pictured her just the way she really is. From the other end of the printing press, as a self denominated “city rat”, I can certify that learning the world of hiking through Odyssa’s words made all the difference. When I closed the cover of the book (shortly after having opened it), it came to my attention that unknowingly I had learned just about anything on hiking, ranging from gear terminology, all the way down to a hiker’s deepest feelings.

Jennifer writes briefly about trail names, and how for her “…when I first learned about trail names, I thought they were just a fun tradition that provided anonymity, but now they were so much more. Odyssa wasn’t just a nickname, it was a second identity.” Truth be told, hiking the trail with Odyssa through her words, it felt just like reviewing somebody’s entire life, Odyssa’s biography.

I devoured the pages unwilling to put down the book before I knew what would the adventurer face in the next miles. I walked the trail with Odyssa. Our experience was truly unbelievable. So in the end, I stayed true to my loving magical reality.

Jennifer is a Lolë friend and writes for the Lolë blog, as well as several other publications. You can get her book online.