I love this author's note, which is a big clue to the stirring under the waters that is going on in the book:
"For those who suffer in silence, I hope you find your peace of mind. Have faith in God that your mountain in West Texas is out there somewhere."
And also, this quote from the book, from one who has experienced the depths of the valley, and the crest of the climb:
"This was it--the place Ty had always described as heaven. The vast beauty of West Texas and northern Mexico lay below them. There wasn't any way God's view could be any more spectacular."
This book is exactly why I signed up to do Book Blog Tours with the Lone Star group. Without them, I would have never read it and that would be a shame. The writing is fast and tight, and is definitely the story of Texas men all Texans will recognize. The story, though modern, is definitely reminiscent of Lonesome Dove, and you'll enjoy placing all the characters, even though you only get a taste of them since this book is not near the length of that worthy Texas tome. With all the Texas locations and musicians and even the happenings across the border, I felt very transported to my state. It is odd to say that, because I'm in the state, but in the reading world I rarely get to be.
Hunter has lost one of his best friends, Ty. In order to remember him, the guys are about to go on a very Texas manly-man hike to crest one of Ty and his father's favorite hiking spots. Yes, the fellas are cut-ups, drink like fish, generally reckless and they wonder about without much of a plan, just like the Lonesome Dove crew. Much of their behavior will make you shake your head in frustration, and make you wonder what the point is.
If you read the whole book, including the Q&A at the end, you will get to the point. It is a very good one, one that is rarely addressed in men, especially here in Texas where they simply cannot admit that anything is wrong.
This is a great book for book club. It is a fast read, and with the Q&A it will help you and your group dig deeper. You'll be able to argue or agree on whether you think the author used the best method to portray the insides of Hunter and what is going on in his head. Perhaps you'll get a laugh out of who in your group got mad and chucked the book across the room, before getting to the finish line! (There will be a few 😉).
l believe M. M. Wolthoff is about to have another book published, and I look forward to reading that one. Thank you for the copy and the chance to review your book, M. M. Wolthoff. Keep writing, I like what you are doing.
“Climbing this West Texas mountain, Make the pilgrimage, closest thing on earth to heaven. We all loved him, blessed to call him a friend. His time came too soon, but he was strong ’til the end.”
The West Texas Pilgrimage by M.M. Wolthoff recounts a weekend journey of friends saying good-bye to a dear friend through a pilgrimage to Big Bend National Park in Texas.
While the excessive drinking of the main characters might put some readers off, dealing with loss is different for everyone and the author portrayed how it was for the main character Hunter to deal with the loss of his friend, Ty. The story takes you along the way of a journey of saying good-bye on the endless roads of West Texas, including a small jaunt across the border into Mexico.
It’s a story of loss and depression and how friends deal with it from hunting to eventually hiking a fictitious peak to say their last goodbyes. Wolthoff’s book is well written, keeps the pace going fast. Good books in my opinion are defined by how well the story carries without bogging down a reader and Pilgrimage is that kind of story.
One interesting aspect of the book are the 20 questions noted in the Reader’s Guide which helps the reader reflect back on the book and leads them to draw some of their own conclusions. There is even an author Q&A giving insight into how the story evolved.
Readers will be left knowing that the author has a love of the West Texas and Big Bend region. It is indeed a beautiful remote area with long endless roads that lead to the most interesting places. Pilgrimage leads readers along those roads to help friends say goodbye.
I laughed. I cried. This is a book that is real, honest and reminds all of us that life is filled with ups and downs. The only way to keep moving forward is to get real with ourselves about who we are and accept our beauty and our pain. This young author has amazing wisdom that is so articulately shared with readers of all ages.
I read the first half of the book in one night, it draws you in with believable characters and real challenges they face. Could have been written about people you know or have met. It covers some tough topics but is an enjoyable read.
The West Texas Pilgrimage was insightful into the mind of a privileged, pre-adult male who tries to self-medicate his OCD condition with alcohol. While reading, I felt the main character's vulnerabilities as he struggled with his feelings regarding his career choice, the loss of a good friend to cancer, and the complications of his search for the right female life mate. The book was a quick read...only because I could not put it down! There were several "ah-ha" moments when I thought: oh my, that's really how a pre-adult male thinks??!? I never knew!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I've been to West Texas and the book gives you an accurate account of the West Texas experience. I learned a lot and I'm anxious to go back to experience some of the places described in this novel. The characters are well developed and their life experiences are real. I appreciate the manner in which the author addresses the personal nature of mental illness in one of his characters, and I enjoyed experiencing the friendship and comraderie of life long friends. A truly enjoyable read!