Andra Watkins - Not Without my Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace

Monday, February 9, 2015

7. Not Without my Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by Andra Watkins (2015)
Length: 220 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 7 February 2015
Finished: 9 February 2015
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 26 January 2015
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and I have read and enjoyed To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by the same author in the past.

In March of 2014, to celebrate the release of her debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, Andra Watkins planned an ambitious journey of her own. She planned to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace just as the pioneers did. Her trek would last for thirty-four days, at fifteen miles per day. Ambitious, perhaps almost impossible, but at the end of her monumental endeavor, Andra Watkins could claim the distinction of being the first living person to walk the entire length of the historic Natchez Trace - all the way from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.

However, the question foremost in her mind was: Can such an epic adventure succeed without a hero? So, Andra decided that she needed a wingman; someone to cheer her on, inspire her, and help her to achieve the incredible goal that she had set for herself. To that end, Andra listed several potential names.

After striking out with everyone else in her life, Andra was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his explosive gas; his indelicate self-scratching; the blaring television, which competed nightly with the sleep apnea machine. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim. To Andra, her plan was pure insanity: herself and her father, together in close quarters; for thirty-four days? If it were in any way possible; this was a recipe for true disaster, bound to derail rather spectacularly at any point along the way.

As she trudged along America's forgotten highway, Andra lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing went according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, father and daughter struggled to rebuild their relationship with each other before it was too late.

Amid the endlessly repetitive stories told enthusiastically to strangers; and the embarrassing instances of fatherly promotion of her novel, Andra invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in this humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn 'I wish I had' into I'm glad I did'.

I must say that I enjoyed reading this book immensely. In my opinion, this was a beautifully written story; poignant and funny, but also extremely moving. I was consistently reminded while I read this book that in everyone's life, no matter how difficult the relationship may become with a loved one, there are always certain special moments or memories that can never be forgotten. I give Not Without my Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by Andra Watkins a definite A! 

Andra has also set a challenge for her readers for this year: she wants us all to experience life, and to make a memory with that special someone for 2015! She would love to hear about her readers' special memories if they wish to share them with her at Andra promises to read every submission that she receives and highlight them on her website.

A! - (90-95%)
May you read well and often