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Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
In Summoning the Mountains, Pilgrimage into Forty, author Amy Allen treats the reader to a trek along the Appalachian Trail. Taking the trail name of Willow, the author arranges for her ex-husband to care for her two sons while she undertakes a six-month hike from Georgia to Maine, taking nothing but a backpack. Willow is approaching forty and she wants to find some type of meaning to life that has eluded her for years. The responsibilities of her job and her children have left her unfulfilled and she believes that by getting in touch with nature, she will again reestablish a sense of purpose to her life. He ex-husband drives her to Springer Mountain, Georgia, where she will begin the hike which she hopes will transform her view of life. She keeps a journal along the way and the journal has formed the basis for the book.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the sites along the trails as well as the people Willow met while hiking. The trials and tribulations of attempting to survive on rations and a small tent and minimal medical supplies were stories to which all serious hikers might relate. When Willow was forced to stop in order to heal a leg injury, readers will empathize and then cheer, as Willow again takes up the journey. I did find that I wanted more of Willow's inner thoughts about how the trek itself affected her. It was, after all, the basis of the book. But it appeared that at the end, many question remained unanswered. It was fun to see the sons enthusiastic about joining in the journey and, all in all, this was a book that many will want to read, hoping to find the motivation to begin their own journey into unknown fulfillment.