No Roads to Follow: Kayaking the Great Lakes Solo Paperback – Oct 25 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
On one hand, the book is a detailing of Herman's disillusionment and discontent with a haphazard career path and the emotional emptiness therein. These feelings culminate in a plan to do something large and radical (he kayaks the Great Lakes from Thunder Bay to Toronto solo, ostensibly to raise funds for cancer). His motives to do so are not explored very deeply, but rather seem to flow naturally from a compulsive, if determined young man, seeking some measure of self-exploration and meaning.
Secondly, it is the recounting of said journey, filled with the generosity of strangers, the challenges of the wild, wind and weather, and the author's sense of the Cancer Society supporting him rather loosely behind the scenes. Indeed, the total money raised from Herman's undertaking seems somewhat small comparative to the effort expended, but perhaps that is only an afterthought to the reader. On a side note, Mr. Herman seems to very much appreciate food, as the details of his menu choices are by far the most consistent part of his recollections. The man loves a meal.
Thirdly and most engaging is the through-line of the author's gathering feeling for his girlfriend, Fleur, with whom he feels his relationship is tenuous and incomplete as the story begins. As his journey progresses, he begins to pine for her most earnestly and often, and luckily, manages to connect with her a few times within the layovers of the trip.Read more ›
Written years after the event, Michael Herman nevertheless gives a detailed log of each meal and person he met along the way and some insight into the relentless paddling, as well as laying his sole bare regarding his romance with his wife-to-be.
As a trip log it was interesting but I had the feeling that it was written more to thank the host of people who provided hospitality and assistance with the fundraising than as a travel book.
While an interesting read, I feel that more could have been made of the history, biodiversity and ecology of the areas he traveled through instead of documenting each meal and other mundane events.