Monday, August 10, 2015

The Middle of Somewhere

The popularity of Wild by Cheryl  Strayed has done nothing but help the writers and stories about other people going on their own hiking adventure.

Sonja Yoerg's novel The Middle of Somewhere is set along the John Muir Trail as Liz attempts to find some solitude and deal with a variety of things in her life.

Liz had been planning her hiking adventure long before she even realized all the issues she had been having.  

Although she is looking for solitude, her boyfriend, Dante, decides to accompany  her. He's not exactly the hiking sort which is evidenced by the blisters he has within the first day.   His company isn't exactly what Liz is wishing for, yet it is critical to her safety as we see later in the novel, and also to their relationship as Liz eventually opens up to him.

Shortly after beginning her hike, Liz encounters the Root brothers.  At first the two seem simply annoying, but as things begin to unfold, the games they are playing aren't funny anymore, and are downright dangerous and scary.  Despite the fact that the trail is long, these brothers continue to pop up often, always being close to Liz (and Dante) and watching their every move.  As the trail nears an end and Liz and Dante look forward to being rid of these two men, the games they are playing turn deadly and I raced through each page to see how Liz and Dante would be able to get away from these two.

Liz reveals bits and pieces of her past during this novel.  At first her quest to hike the John Muir Trail seems like something she can check off her bucket list.  Although it is that, it is also much more.  Liz loves Dante, but things are complicated.  She just had an abortion without telling him (I promise that's not a spoiler at all because that detail is revealed nearly immediately) which seems bad enough. But what is really at the root of things is her own upbringing with two parents who had little time for her and a first husband who seemed so much different at first, yet treated her the same way.

Even though Liz is not excited to have Dante around, his presence allows the two of them to get to know each other better and for Liz to finally confide in him her real fears and insecurities.

Yoerg's novel was easy to get into and a good read.  She does a great job of describing different points along the Muir Trail and was able to write knowledgeably about hiking and the trail so that readers (like me) who are not experienced in either of those areas would be able to understand it and follow along.

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