My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was #23 (a book set in the wilderness) and #25 (a book by an author from a country you’ve never visited, and that would be Canada) on my 2017 Reading Challenge.
Bookshelves: abandoned, adventure, coming-of-age, dnf, man-vs-nature, reading-challenge, love-the-cover
Admittedly, I was trying to read this book after suffering the ignominiousness of losing a job, which is a pretty serious emotional hit and a fairly distracting situation. But on the other hand, I had another job the very next day, because I had already decided I hated where I was and had been looking. Also on the other hand, a good book could have drawn me in, balm for my wounds. I have to conclude this was not a particularly good book, or not for me at any rate.
It’s not that the writing is bad, or that the premise is bad. Neither is the case. The blurb hooked me: “Five days. Four hikers. Three survivors.” I like man-vs-nature stories, and stories of internal reckonings. I love the cover. But the story couldn’t draw me in; it felt draggy and repetitive, and I never felt invested in the characters. I kept doing anything except read this book, which I was attributing to my unusual mental state, until last night when I decided that I would enjoy the story if I’d just settle down and pay attention, and I was by god going to finish the damn thing. So I read–until the part about the coyotes, who attack humans only very, very rarely. That two coyotes, apparently well-fed and not in denning season, would stalk four people, all of whom are three times their size, was just not believable to me. It did serve as a nice contrivance for the next disaster to befall the group, though.
That’s when I counted it all up. I’ve been reading this book for 8 days, I’m only about halfway through and it’s due back at the library in 2 more days, after which I’ll have to go back on a waiting list to check it out again, and by the time I get it back I’ll have forgotten where I left off and what happened before.
When I was still working at We Suck, Inc., I’d escaped for a lunch hour and hit the jackpot at a used bookstore, scoring a copy of Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon that had lately been on my mind a lot for some reason (couldn’t have anything to do with Der Pumpkinfuhrer having the nuclear controls, could it?) as well as some Sue Monk Kidd, Erik Larson, and Barbara Kingsolver. As with my former job, I will conclude that we are not a good fit and leave The Mountain Story to someone who will enjoy it.
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