Dan and Danielle on The Hike by Drew Magary
Dan On ...
I didn't know what to expect from this book. The cover blurb sounded pretty interesting. The cover art was sort of kitschy-weird and mildly off-putting. But, the book had popped up a handful of times in my Facebook ad feed and it was constantly popping up on Amazon when I was browsing.
So. Fate. Clearly.
There are books that make you wait for things to go off the rails. To say that this book doesn't, well... let's just say by page 10 things have taken a hard left into weirdness and it doesn't ever let up. It just keeps the pedal to the floor as we struggle to keep up with the absurdity.
The Hike reminded me of Candide, except without the over the top satire. Maybe elements of Gulliver's Travels too, but without the cuteness? Ben, the main character of The Hike, suffers during every moment of his journey. It's long and hard and changes him as a person. More than you could possibly ever imagine when he started his little hike.
Of all of the extremely odd characters in this novel, Crab is my favorite. I mean, how can you not love a bitter, talking crab? And, by the way, Crab has secrets, and they run deep.
This is an epic-quest of a story. There are tons of twists and turns to The Hike. It can be pretty dark, but it gets a strong recommendation from me!
Buy it! Read it!
Danielle On ...
I went on a bit of a Margary-fest a few weeks ago. I mean, if you can call reading two books by the same author back-to-back a "fest"? First I read The Postmortal and LOVED it, so I was really excited to read The Hike.
Thing I should know by now: loving one book by an author does not mean you will love the second one. Or that they will be at all similar. Other thing I should know by now: sometimes it's the stories that you don't LOVE that burrow into the inner recesses of your brain.
The Hike certainly did that.
It starts off with this guy, Ben. He's kind of described as Generic Dude. Married, kids, job of some kind, and he's in the mountains to do said job. But he has some time so he decides he'll go hiking. No big, right?
This, by the way, all unfolds in the first eight pages. Ben's hiking, la-de-dah, and then --
OH AND THEN.
And then? As my mum would say, it goes to hell in a handbasket. That's right, Book People. HELL WITH WICKER.
Without giving too much away, it turns out that if Ben leaves the path he's following, he will die. Likely quite horribly, at the hands of ... oh, any number of maniacal and ridiculous creatures, many of which are not human. Of course, he might die anyway, what with being in the forest and all.
Basically? it sucks to be Ben.
He does meet the occasional ally -- including Crab -- and there's a hint that he'll make it after all? But hints are just hints and did I mention that it really REALLY sucks to be Ben?
This book is up and down for me; I feel like the pacing is a bit uneven but I also think that maybe uneven pacing is important on a book about what might be the worst hike EVER. Because life -- and hiking -- are uneven activities. Sometimes the path is up, sometimes it is down, and sometimes there is a crazy twist. Or two.
The ending of this book blew my socks off, so you may want to consider your footwear when you're reading it.
Might I suggest hiking boots?
Just in case.