Breaking the Fourth Wall

An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way

Non-Fiction - Memoir
240 Pages
Reviewed on 05/05/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way is a non-fiction travel adventure memoir written by Michelle Sevigny. Sevigny was reeling after a series of awful life-changing events. Her best friend, business partner and companion, her ten-year-old Rottweiler, had died of bone cancer; she was still mourning the cycling accident that took the life of her mom seven years earlier, and her dad’s wife had been recently diagnosed with brain cancer. She wanted to run and keep on running. Sevigny sold her apartment and began selling off or donating the rest of her possessions. Friends suggested hiking, which didn’t really appeal at first, but then Sevigny realized that it was not the activity itself that didn’t appeal but rather the settings for those hikes. She had always chosen coastal countries to visit and loved running on the beach, so the concept of long-distance coastal hiking became an viable option as a way to recharge and heal. She considered the Pacific Coastal Trail and other more popular coastal treks, but then remembered a picture her dad had of her mom in front of a Turkish mosque, and an old map of Turkey with camping signs dotting it. She wasn’t sure if those things nudged her mind, but, in the end, she decided to do the Lycian Way in Turkey before her new dog came into her life and while she still had the money from the sale of her apartment. Seven months later, she arrived at Istanbul's airport.

Michelle Sevigny’s non-fiction travel adventure memoir, Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way, is a fresh and inspiring account of a most memorable journey. I marvelled at how the author gradually picked up and communicated with words and phrases in Turkish as she hiked, and how she had the courage to set out on a hike of this magnitude in a foreign land with a GPS unit that functioned fitfully at best. However, as I read on, I harbored no doubts at all that Sevigny would finish her journey and have a marvelous time doing it. The author is brutally frank and honest throughout this exceptionally good memoir as she shares both the very good and pretty awful moods she experiences, and I felt as though I were sharing the healing process that her journey facilitated. Her interactions with the dogs she meets along the way, and her yearning to finally meet the new dog she was destined to have as her companion are poignant moments in the story and will, no doubt, affect anyone who’s ever lost a beloved companion dog as strongly as Sevigny’s story affected me. I loved reading about her interactions with Turkish villagers, the descriptions of the families who shared their meals with her and were so kind; and her account of the Kangol sheepdogs who guarded her overnight as she slept in an area where she was exposed to predators. I love hiking and hope to some day follow in Sevigny’s footsteps and hit the coastal trails, but, for now, I had a grand time vicariously walking the Lycian Way with her. Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way is most highly recommended.

Sefina Hawke

Breaking the Fourth Wall (An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way) by Michelle Sevigny is a memoir by Michelle Sevigny, who decided to go on a traveling adventure after a buildup of one bad event after another drove her to seek out something else, something more. Her unsettled year gave way to her deciding to hike the 509-kilometre Lycian Way by herself. She might have had a plan, but no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and she soon find herself getting lost, not having enough water, dealing with sheepdogs, and camping out in the wild. Her journey might have been rough, but it was exactly what she needed to guide her towards embracing herself and discovering who she is as an individual.

Breaking the Fourth Wall by Michelle Sevigny has a beautiful cover that, unlike most biographies and memoirs, was of the scenery encountered on the journey and not just a picture of the author. The book is organized into chapters with the day displayed above each chapter title. Michelle Sevigny experienced a horrible turn of events as her dog died of bone cancer and her father’s wife died from brain cancer. These events caused her to sell her old home and move into a basement suite about ten minutes from her father, yet instead of wallowing in the pain, she decided to seek out something more. The journey she went on was not only inspirational, but also amusing. There were multiple times where I would have to go back a few pages to make sure I understood what happened correctly because it seem too outlandish, yet it clearly all happened. Michelle Sevigny’s story has inspired me to try to learn about who I am as a person and to embrace the uncertainty of life instead of fighting against it!

Gisela Dixon

Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way by Michelle Sevigny is a travel memoir about Michelle’s journey over the Lycian Way in Turkey. The Lycian Way is a footpath around part of the coast around ancient Lycia. It is a coastal hike that is approximately 540 kms long. Breaking the Fourth Wall is a detailed day-by-day travel account starting with Michelle’s arrival in Ovacik and continuing along the trail. She begins this solo trek after a series of events, including the death of her dog, in Canada prompted her to take a fresh look at life and find out what she needed from it. Throughout this account, she talks of her experiences with camping and backpacking, the intermittent hotel or home stays along the way, her interactions with the locals and shepherds, the local food, and of course the experience of hiking along the coast itself.

Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Uncertain Journey on Turkey's Lycian Way by Michelle Sevigny is an interesting travel book , especially for those interested in hiking or backpacking adventures. Another interesting aspect of this book is that it is written from the perspective of a single woman traveler and her experiences as a woman alone are necessarily different from a man’s. This itself lends a unique quality to the book. Secondly, I also enjoyed reading and learning more about the Lycian Way and certain episodes such as accidentally stumbling upon ancient ruins, or the unexpected generosity of the locals, lend genuineness and authenticity to the book. This is a good book that I would recommend.