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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail - Ben Montgomery

It's difficult sometimes to separate the quality of a book from the subject of the story. Grandma Gatewood's Walk is a wonderful book, but largely because of the merits of its subject: Emma Gatewood, who, starting at the age of 67, hiked the entire length of the Appalachia Trail thrice, as well as the Oregon Trail. Gatewood, affectionately dubbed Grandma Gatewood, was such an inspiring individual, and her story is one that I doubt many born since the 1960s are familiar with.

Like many works of non-fiction, Grandma Gatewood's Walk suffers from repetition. There doesn't seem to have been enough worthwhile material to complete a full book-length work, so some of the story has been stretched to cover the holes. And while the writing is competent and clear, this is far from the most brilliant or enlightening book. But it all goes back to the subject of Emma Gatewood, and Ben Montgomery does a stand-up job presenting her as a very interesting and inspiring person. Montgomery makes this book all about her, and in that regard, he succeeds.