It’s very hard to review something that is somewhat autobiographical but I’m going to give it a try and see how this goes because I genuinely need to express my love of this woman. It will be brief, there isn’t too much I can say apart from get out there and read it yourself!
I read My Animals and Other Family a couple of years ago, not long after it was released and I loved it. I don’t often pick up a biography or memoir, so when I do I generally really have to like the person. Anyway, I loved it. It was a book that was very satisfying to read and I knew if Clare released another book (and I was hopeful she would) that I would be jumping in there and buying it as soon as I could. I just really clicked on to her writing style, I could feel her personality coming through the pages and I could pretty much hear her narrating it in my head. Who needs an audiobook?!
I was lucky enough to pick this up, signed, in Jarrolds. I missed the event that Clare did along with a couple of other authors as I was on holiday at the time, so I felt very fortunate to be able to pick up a signed edition of this!
This book on the surface is a lot less about Clare. Each chapter is set around a walk she’s undertaken and her walking ‘journey’. But in and amongst all of the relaying of these walks are personal anecdotes, linked in so beautifully with the atmosphere of the environment you’re in at the very moment. Some personal stories are squished in to the walks and others, the walk fits in around the story. It was so, so very beautifully written there just aren’t words for it.
I can’t lie, I laughed and I did indeed cry. One particular chapter, as a dog owner, made me sob like a baby. It was possibly a little overreaction, but I can’t care. There were some particularly poignant moments, the chapter about Percy – obviously – and also in the chapter in which she was talking about carrying the Olympic torch. To be honest, all of the little bits that made up the Olympics were a highlight for me, I could practically hear her excitement (as I said, after a while she’s practically narrating it in my subconscious).
Lastly, Alice is a amazing. That’s all I can say. Whenever Alice was mentioned, I laughed. The little inputs here and there nine times out of ten had me snort.
Everyone should read both of Clare’s books. There’s no buts about it, you just should.