Mini Book Review of “The Last Hike” by Lee Lovelace

I’ve recently been drawn to Appalachian Trail lore and history and have grown fascinated with the culture of the trail. In my quest to learn more and maybe even plan on some extended hiking trips of my own, I’ve been reading some journals and books authored by AT thru-hikers. I thought that was what I was reading when I picked up this title. The premise hooked me from the very beginning as the primary character reveals early in the book that his plan is to hike the entire Appalachian Trail and the commit suicide when he reached the end of the trail.

Little did I realize this book was a work of fiction. I will admit to a little bit of disappointment as I realized the characters and events surrounding the story were fictional, but then it occurred to me that my misunderstanding was a testament to how well the book was written. It was obvious the author was intimately familiar with the Appalachian Trail. Choosing the AT as at the backdrop for his story was nothing short of genius. Lovelace is at his best when exploring the Trail itself. From what I can tell, he captures the locations and culture perfectly.

I felt some of the characters were a little less convincing. Attachments and emotions between characters seemed to develop at an unrealistic pace which could, in all fairness I suppose, be attributed to the culture of the Trail itself. And while, it’s hard to explain, I had a hard time buying into some of the characters. Overall, however, these shortcomings didn’t detract from the appeal of the story, which is the trail itself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found myself eagerly turning pages in an attempt to get to Maine with the principal characters.


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