Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
Review by Sarah Newell
Why would a 67-year-old great-grandma leave her house one day to walk the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail? Why would she choose to be the first woman to solo thru-hike the trail? Why would she brave the animals and elements along the trail with nothing more than a light sack containing a few items she deemed necessary?
You’ll have to read Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail to answer the question for yourself. Author Ben Montgomery does a masterful job of weaving newspaper articles, eye-witness accounts, family interviews and information from Emma Gatewood’s own journal together to paint possible answers to these questions for us. While the answer is never handed over, we embark on a character study in order to understand the endearing and inspirational Grandma Gatewood.
For anyone who likes stories about incredible human perseverance, descriptions about the outdoors or tales about eccentric old women, this is the book for you. Not one for biographies myself, I found this engaging and written at a pace that did not lag, yet found time to fill in loads of interesting details. A definite recommended read (or listen).
This book is the 2016 Community Read pick for Longwood Gardens.
This title was also the Open Minds selection for March 2016
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About the reviewer: Sarah Newell is a member of the Reference team and enjoys hiking small sections of the Appalachian Trail.