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Book Review: Becoming Odyssa Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Becoming Odyssa Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

By Jennifer Pharr Davis

Reviewed by Meilee Anderson

I just finished reading “Becoming Odyssa Adventures on the Appalachian Trail” by Jennifer Pharr Davis. When it comes to endurance hiking, I’m an armchair participant. My longest hike last year was 8 miles at Rainier. I’m not about to tackle a trail that weaves through multiple states from Georgia to Maine! That said I still really enjoyed the book.

“Becoming Odyssa Adventures on the Appalachian Trail” reads like an effortless story, it’s not a how-to manual on hiking. Though I did learn from her adventure and misadventures. I thought Jennifer did a great job of taking the reader with her along the journey. She didn’t sugar coat the rough spots, nor did she glamorize the wonders. I thought she struck a good balance of sharing the highs and lows of a 2000+ mile trek across the country.

My favorite lines from “Becoming Odyssa Adventures on the Appalachian Trail” were on page 274 describing a scene that occurred towards the end of her hike on the AT. After hiking 2000 miles on the trail, she compared herself with hikers who were fairly fresh just starting their journey. These two paragraphs resonated with me. I love the sense of empowerment that rings through these lines.

“Our last night at the hostel, after taking a shower, I spent several minutes looking in the mirror. I combed through my nappy hair with my hands, ran a finger over the scratches on my arms, and picked the loose scabs off my old bug bites. I wasn’t pretty – at least, not the way the south bounders were pretty. I didn’t look groomed, and I wouldn’t be chosen to be in an outdoor magazine. But I did feel beautiful, probably more beautiful than I had ever felt.

I felt beautiful because my body was toned, my legs could hike thirty miles a day, and my arms could pull up on branches or brace my fall when I needed them to. I felt beautiful because my body was capable of hiking over two thousand miles. I felt beautiful because I was part of nature, part of a creation that was expansive and awe-inspiring. I might not have been considered pretty by society’s standards but what society thought mattered less and less to me.”

I’ve wanted to read “Becoming Odyssa Adventures on the Appalachian Trail” for a while now and was so happy to get my hands on a copy. This was my second title written by Jennifer Pharr David that I’ve read. I was not disappointed.

I just started reading “Old Lady on the Trail” by Mary E. Davis and am so inspired already by the story of this woman who achieved the Triple Crown by 76 years of age. I’ll have a review for you soon.

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Meilee Anderson
Meilee Anderson
A marketing consultant by day, avid reader most nights. To say she’s a voracious reader is an understatement. Meilee completed the 2020 Tacoma Extreme Reading Challenge (50 books in 50 weeks) by March 31. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book Meilee can be found exploring the PNW with her husband, kids, and menagerie.
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