Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace

Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?
Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.
After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.
As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.
My Impressions: 

First off I want to say how much I loved the way this book felt in my hands when I picked it up for the first time. My fingers glided over the silky,smooth cover time and again. The smoothness of the cover was such a contrast to the hardship that unraveled with its pages that it made me appreciate the aesthetic look and feel of the cover all the more. I know you are not suppose to judge a book by it's cover, but the cover draws you in to read the insert or flip the book the over for more information or has you tossing it back on the shelf. The feel of the cover and the lonely wide strip of the road going on till unseen invites you in.

Now that I ranted about the cover lets dive into the nitty gritty and talk content. I really enjoyed Andra's writing style. It was honest, funny, gritty, and a wonderful story teller. Plus, I loved her internal monologue! I have read and studied Lewis and Clark as most people have, but I never really thought about the Natchez Trail, until Andra brought it to life for me. The historical context she describes as while taking this adventure made me appreciate the rich history in a different light. 

I will be the first to admit that I thought this story might be a little drab and hard to get through, but there is so much going on behind the scene that you are entranced. What starts out as a hiking adventure, turns into a time of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation  and understanding for Andra and her family. Practically forcing her father through manipulation to be her wing-man, Andra and her father get a unique opportunity to hash out past pains, regrets and hopes for a new beginning.

I did not follow Andra's blog when she walked the Natchez Trail. In fact I never heard about it here in Texas, but after reading her book it brings about this curiosity in you to go and check it out and get more information and background about this amazing woman, her family and their journey towards forgiveness.

About the Author
Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.
Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

For More Information
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of  Pump Up Your Books Review Crew.

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