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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail is a contemporary fiction novel written by Michael Herrick. Walt was beginning this phase of his Appalachian Trail experience from Harper’s Ferry. He was in his late forties, and his wife and daughters were adamant in their opposition to his taking on this challenge -- but it was something he simply had to do. All the years of teaching uninterested students by day and driving limousines at night to satisfy the endless need for money to pay household bills and expenses and their daughters’ tuition fees had left him feeling more dead than alive. A daring look at a scale confirmed that he was about 40 pounds heavier than the fit and trim Strider whose journal set in motion Walt’s need to continue on. But it did not dissuade him; he simply figured it was an extra 40-pound weight he’d be shouldering along with his overly heavy pack.
Michael Herrick’s contemporary fiction novel, Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail, is a thought-provoking story of one man’s midlife crisis which propels him on a journey into the woods and his future. I’ve read a number of Appalachian Trail memoirs and novels, and I thought I had read just about everything there was on the subject, but Herrick’s tale showed me that was definitely not the case. Once again, I found myself living the Trail experience through another’s eyes, but there was more to this story: more unique experiences to be encountered on the trail, and in the shelters and hostels along the way as seen through the eyes of Walt while he attempts to make sense of his life. Herrick’s writing is elegant and fluid and a sheer pleasure to read, and his character is wonderfully complex: sometimes brutally honest and world-weary and, at other times, he becomes an innocent marveling at his presence and his transformation on the trail. Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail is highly recommended.