Book Review: Mountain Man by James Forrest
During 2017, one of the wettest years in recent history, James Forrest climbed all 446 mountains in England and Wales in just 6 months – the fastest-ever time. He walked over 1000 miles and ascended five times the height of Everest. All of this was achieved at weekends and during days off from work showing that it is possible to ‘integrate an epic adventure into everyday life’.
Taking on a book review of someone you know personally is very difficult. You don’t want to big them up too much and you desperately hope that it is a good read, because the last thing you want is to slate their months of hard graft.
Well, it did not take much time to realise that the latter was most certainly not going to happen. All I had to do now was not make his head any bigger.
Now I am no book critic or professional reviewer. I tell it how it is, or was, for me. I write about the way I felt after reading it. This is as honest to my opinion as I can make it.
One of my worries when I started to read this book, was that it would be like so many other ‘travelogue’ adventure books which gave you a continuous chronological narrative of the expedition. There are only so many ways to say I walked up this mountain, then walked up that mountain.
Much to my great relief James writes in a very anecdotal way. He spins a yarn, creating a story that is factual, thought provoking but entertaining. Where there is little to say, he says very little. A good example is his coverage of the Pumlumon Fells of Mid Wales, five mountains to which he dedicates one paragraph, most of which tells you where they are located and where he had his lunch!
James was probably the most ill equipped, in way of skills and equipment, to take on this mammoth task. He openly admits that his map reading skills are virtually non-existent’ relying almost entirely on his OS Maps app on his IPhone. Oh! and doing the entire expedition wearing his wives boots!
This is more than a story about climbing 446 mountains, it is a story about James, his life, his dreams and ambitions. It is a journey inside his mind, and the battles with achieving the challenge but also be a ‘normal’ person. He portraits the struggle between being an ‘Adventurer’, holding down a paid desk job, moving to a new house and being a family man in a thought provoking way.
…a classic ‘page turner’.
This is a very absorbing, captivating, inspirational and soul-searching book. His journey takes you from hilarious highs to heart rendering lows but never left you feeling that you could not read anymore. In fact, the complete opposite was true. This was a book that I could not put down, a classic ‘page turner’.
James shows very clearly, that if you have a dream or a wanderlust to do anything, then it is possible. Sure you have to abandon all normality in your life, quit your full-time job and find a part-time job with an understanding employer. In addition to all of this, wreck havoc on relationships and family life.
Has it been worth it?
When I see James, I know that every tear, boggy puddle, broken tent pole and absolute soaking was worth it. He has found his niche and a way to live the dream.
This is an outstanding book written by a talented, single-minded, determined individual. His style of writing is easy to read without being simplistic. He engages you from the start and does not let you go until you reach the final page. This is not a coffee table book, this is a pick up and read from cover to cover book.
Would I recommend this book – too damned right I would!
Can’t wait to get your copy – simple click the book and order
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Mountain Man by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC which I used for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.