Your Blue Is Not My Blue: A Missing Person Memoir – REVIEW

 

Full Title & Author:

Your Blue Is Not My Blue: A Missing Person Memoir

Written By: Aspen Matis

How I Came Across This Book:

I previously had read the author’s first book Girl in the Woods concerning trauma she experienced that ultimately lead her to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I actually reviewed that book (see the review here) on the Snuggle Diaries and so felt after reading Matis’ next book I would also review it.

First Thoughts:

What really drew me into this was the summary of the book, that Matis’ husband whom she met on the PCT disappears. After the author fully reveals her rape and further trauma in her first book, I couldn’t imagine how she could go through much more. Her second book reveals that yes, she did experience much more during the actual writing of Girl in the Woods and she often traveled and to various places in order to hide or simply escape from reality.

Review:

Matis has a flowery type of writing style which can be a little overwhelming as the reader can get lost in the details of an event that doesn’t exactly push the story forward. That style continues in this book, however, it did not prevent me from reading Your Blue Is Not My Blue in its entirety. As with her first book, Matis is very honest which may not exactly reflect well on her. From an outside perspective, this book can be very hard to read as both her and her husband (together and separately) make what can be judged as immature and selfish decisions. The reader may find themselves wanting to scream at Matis for doing something however, this also can speak to her quality of writing that makes the reader feel so much.

Beyond her writing style, I found the contents of this book to speak volumes for what hikers and travelers can often be found guilty of, escape. The author both alone and with her husband travel within the states and abroad to escape their reality. They leave or completely ignore responsibilities in the name of adventure while completely writing off their families for months at a time touting, “they are not understood”.

The aspect of this book that I found relatable and the reason primarily for the review, is the fact that no matter where the author travels, her problems await her when the adventure inevitably comes to an end. I have often heard hikers or travelers stating they were in a place in their life where they felt lost, misunderstood, and sought a long-distance trail or another adventure for clarity. Matis does this same thing however both she and her husband seem to seek the “ignorance is bliss” aspect never actually seeking clarity in their family lives, marriage, or personal growth. This book overall shows how these actions only hurt supportive friends and family and eventually destroy relationships.

Conclusion:

Anyone interested in this book should be aware that Girl in the Woods should be read first to have a better understanding of the author and the foundation or lack thereof, of her and her husband’s relationship. The “Missing Person Memoir” of the book not only refers to her husband but also to the author herself as she acknowledges that she has been a “missing person” in the lives of her immediate family. Matis does eventually come full circle in this book but it takes harsh reality and a stream of bad decisions that are often very gringe worthy, for her to get there.

Although hard to read at times due to the flowery descriptions of life and the immature actions of the author, I felt like this book speaks to those who chose to runway from their problems using travel as their escape. Your Blue Is Not My Blue is more about relationships than hiking or travel, although these things do take place, they are more like “a drug of choice” being used to avoid bigger issues. Overall, this book will not be liked by all and it’s not my favorite, but I think it’s very brave of the author to reveal once again a time in her life that wasn’t that pretty.

cover

 

Your Blue Is Not My Blue will be officially released on June 1st (as of the date of this review) but is currently available for preorder. It was chosen as one of eight monthly Amazon First Reads and is currently being offered as a Kindle version for free for all Amazon Prime Members. 

 

Other Reviews I Have Done: 

Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph – REVIEW

Engineering Eden: REVIEW

The Blue Ridge Parkway By Foot – Review

 

Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph – REVIEW

 

Full Title & Author:

Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph

Written By: Jennifer Pharr Davis

How I Came Across This Book:

I have known about this book for several years. I had previously read Becoming Odyssa: Adventures On The Appalachian Trail by Jennifer before my hike of the Appalachian Trail. I had also read Brew Davis’ (Jennifer’s husband) book 46 Days: Keeping Up With Jennifer Pharr Davis on the Appalachian Trail before my hike. However, for some reason I never read Called Again which takes place after Odyssa and along with 46 Days.

When my husband reached out to Jennifer (who I will admiringly refer to Jen at this point) to chat it up with her on a live cast, I geeked out. I have followed Jen on social media for a few years but was then also reminded of how this woman had greatly inspired me to get out on the AT years ago.  She has made a name for herself and women athletes setting new records on trails, starting her own business, doing what she can to encourage others to get outside, is a strong advocate for the AT and conservationist.  Being a badass and a seemingly very down to earth person, I have always found Jen inspirational in many ways.

As I sat and watched my husband’s published video of his chat with Jen (secretly jealous he got the chance to virtually hang out with an idol of mine) I started to crave the motivation I felt when reading Odyssa. I started to think back to our time on the AT when I got to see both Jen and Brew speak and perform at Trail Days in 2015. It was at this time I remembered I had never read Called Again. Feeling nostalgic for the AT and adventure, I downloaded the book.

First Thoughts:

My first thoughts on this book were concerned that I wouldn’t remember exactly what was going on since it had been so long since I had read Odyssa however I needed not to worry. Jen has set up this her second book, in a way that readers can enjoy it as a stand-alone book. She does refer to experiences and people discussed in more detail within Odyssa however she also provides enough information for the reader to simply understand a connection to a place, time, or person. Reading Odyssa first will give the Called Again reader more of an understanding of Jen, however simply put, it is not essential to read Odyssa first.

The other initial thought I had going into this book was that it would be solely about Jen’s experience in 2011 of setting the overall fastest supported trail record on the Appalachian Trail. However, Jen gives so much more of herself in this book. The reader receives a fully rounded perspective of the emotional and physical toll of record-setting (which is sometimes hard to read especially when Jen beautifully but disturbingly describes Shin Splints and GI Issues) but most importantly she gives a complete perspective on relationships with family, friends, and strangers along with the personal growth that occurs during such a feat.

Review:

It’s hard to do a review section of a book that I found no fault in. I will just be upfront and state I honestly loved it, teared up on several occasions, and felt like Jen was at times peeking into my relationship with my husband, another very determined hiker.

Jen’s writing style takes you there with her on the Appalachian Trail and more deeply, in her personal life. After reading this book, I feel as if I have been having a long conversation with a dear friend. For a person I have only seen from afar and never talked to in person, I feel as if we know each other (I write that trying not to be creepy).  I also feel a connection to her husband Brew in many ways; him being the supportive and loving spouse of a very goal-oriented and determined hiker (that, of course, would be Darwin for me).

Jen begins Called Again not too long after her first completed thru-hike of the AT however, she does this via the ending of a romantic relationship that bloomed during the hike. The end of this relationship sets the tone for the book; a book about relationships that long-distance trails and backpacking are only a backdrop to.

Called Again is about much more than trail experiences,  although the reader will get plenty of the gory and painful details, they will also get a deeper look into Jen’s life and what it took from her and friends, family, and husband to set an FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the Appalachian Trail. For those who think this will be a quick read at face value your going to be disappointed. Jen is literally an open book into how the trail is simply a place to escape and challenge oneself. The main meat of this book is again a focus on the people who hike with her and support her down that same path.

Conclusion:

I feel like this book fell into my lap at the time I most needed it. If I would have read this book in 2015 before the AT, before Darwin was hiking more long-distance trails solo, before my solo travels, I don’t think this book would have resonated with me the same way.

On a personal level, I was greatly touched by Jen’s honesty and humor and not in the way I thought I would be. Yes, I enjoy hiking and reading about badass women doing badass things especially when it comes to hiking, but I was more touched by her descriptions of the relationship with her husband.

I was also deeply moved by Jen’s self-awareness when she was being a so-called “diva” to her husband and her friends, her awareness of her needs versus her wants, the physical pain of the hike, and the mental pain of knowing life was happening around her while she trudged on the same trail for hours, days, and weeks. A lot of her thoughts I found extremely relatable and in regards to what she was doing, understandable.

Overall, this book is beautifully written providing a look into what it takes to set a trail record physically, but mostly focusing on what is often not discussed, the supportive people surrounding the record-setter. I found Called Again to speak directly to my heart and to my marriage and enjoyed the humor Jen sprinkles over all of it.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

“Love is an unending trail; and more often than not, it will not be pretty.  It will be dirty and sticky, and it may even cause a rash (hopefully one that will go away with time or a prescription).” 

– Jennifer Pharr Davis, Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph

 

If you want to learn more about Jennifer Pharr Davis, check out her website https://jenniferpharrdavis.com

Check out this and other books by Jennifer via this link https://jenniferpharrdavis.com/store or check out your local library!

book cover

 

Here are some other book reviews I’ve done:

When You Find My Body- REVIEW

The Dirtbag’s Guide to Life – Review

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home – REVIEW

Sounds and Sights of Spring

4/14/14 – Indiana

After a dreary, long, and emotionally draining winter, April has arrived and so with it the sights of Spring.

It happened suddenly it seems, even after waiting so long. I just noticed a few days ago while walking to work the grass was green. Overnight a veil had seemingly been pulled off the brown and sleeping blades of grass.

The next week the trees were tinged with green like a fairy and touched each branch tip with a green paintbrush. The buds on flowers also started to appear, preparing to bloom.

Even during a recent run, I felt the returned embrace of the cool spring air, no longer the harsh stinging wind of the winter.

And finally this morning the sounds of Spring flooded through our bedroom window. I awoke to the soft rhythmic pattering of rain and the chips of birds. I can feel it electrify my body awakening it from its dormancy of winter.

Flowers

Other Stuff You Might Dig While Stuck At Home:

My Book: Mini Misadventures

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Don’t Forget! I have over three years of blog posts! Check them all out on the main Snuggle Diary Page!!!!