Wednesday, February 3, 2010

weekly book review

And now on a completely different note from yesterday's post! A little ditty I like to call:

THE BEST BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR!

Last week I read "The Last Season" by Eric Blehm. It's the story of Randy Morgenson, a back country ranger at King's Canyon National Park who, on his 28th consecutive summer rangering, disappeared without a trace. The book alters back and forth between the extensive search for Randy and Randy' life story from growing up in Yosemite where his father worked, to his stint in the Peace Corps, to his employment by the park's services in King's Canyon.

It's funny, we bloggers who walk the line between over sharers and writers, often spend so much time trying to "find our voices". We strive to find a distinctive style that reflect who we are, our personality, our wit. We want our blog posts to shout out "Heather wrote this!" We want our uniqueness to color our words.

So its interesting to read a book that is truly a piece of investigative journalism. Something in which the writer keeps himself and his viewpoint out of the writing and instead lets the story speak for itself. The book is extensively researched. It skillfully pulls the reader along, building suspense and providing glimpses into the lives of Randy and his wife Judi, his family, his co-workers and friends and how their interactions gave rise to several theories behind Randy's disappearance. Did he have an accident? Was there fowl play? Or did Randy plan his own disappearance and not want to be found?

The only area in which Eric Blehm fails to keep his personal views from coloring his writing is in his descriptions of the high sierra. It is clear that Blehms is somebody who is intimately familiar with King's Canyon. He describes with such detail the snowpack, the flowers, the birds, the loose scree hiking paths, the obsidian arrowheads found in opportune places.

Reading this book, I was not only swept up in the story of Randy Morgensen's disappearance, but in the lure of the sierras. I had forgotten how much I miss King's Canyon, one of my favorite places on earth. I could almost feel the sunshine on my face, the loose rock under my boots, the dry, dusty air in my throat. I wished I were there.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the outdoors. Or anyone who doesn't, for that matter. Great story. Great writing. Great mountains.

2 comments:

Being Brazen said...

sounds like an interesting book

geekhiker said...

That book has been on my reading list for a while. Sadly, the local library doesn't carry it, so I'll have to buy. Problem is, with so much stuff on my list at the library, I never get around to buying books!