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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Twenty: One Woman’s Trek across Corsica on the GR20 Trail by Marianne C. Bohr is an inspirational tale of persistence, drive, courage, and love that will touch the hearts of many and perhaps even motivate some to experience new adventures. Marianne and her husband were about to turn sixty and were determined to experience all they could in their retirement. Lifelong hikers, they resolved to attempt their toughest challenge yet by walking the infamous GR20 Trail which winds over the rugged mountains on the island of Corsica. Although they trained assiduously for this adventure, nothing could prepare them for the degree of difficulty they would face on this treacherous trek. With a guide and a small team of like-minded adventurers, Marianne and her husband Joe were as ready for this challenge as they could be but a shocking diagnosis from the doctor just before the trip had Marianne questioning her ability to complete the journey. Nevertheless, these two “seniors” were determined to give this trail their best shot. Along the way, they would make lifelong friends, and test the bonds of their love and marriage.
The Twenty appealed to me in many ways because the age of the pair is similar to my own and I found myself in awe of their commitment to both each other and the monumental challenge they had set themselves. Marianne C. Bohr brings an intimately personal touch to this memoir. She is not afraid to open herself up to introspection and criticize herself for her failings and, despite her often appearing overly self-critical, it is easy to empathize and feel her frustrations and anger, especially at the silent invader that is slowly robbing her of her ability to do the thing she loves so passionately. There is an underlying current of humor throughout the book which helped to keep the participants on course despite the sometimes harsh and unforgiving conditions they faced. More than a book about a trek across unforgiving terrain, this memoir is full of warmth, joy, and an unceasing zest for life which readers cannot help but be caught up in. For all of us approaching or reaching those senior years, this is a clarion call that life does not end at sixty. I salute Marianne and Joe and the magnificent achievement that they shared with us in this story. The writing style is conversational and carries the reader from one exciting, dangerous challenge to the next. Readers will soar with Marianne’s successes and feel deeply for her failures. This is a fantastic read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.