Walking With Sam

by Andrew McCarthy
First sentence: “When I was a very young man and became very successful in the movies very quickly, I harbored a notion that I had not earned my accomplishments, that I hadn’t done the requisite work, that it was all merely a fluke, that I didn’t deserve it.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There is some mention of drug use, several f-bombs,, and other mild swearing. It’s in the Biography section of the bookstore.

I was probably always going to be interested in this book; I love travel books, and I have a friend who has walked the Camino twice. Plus there’s the celebrity factor. But, after finishing The Longest Way Home, I have immense respect for McCarthy as a travel writer. And he delivers in this book.

When he was in his early 30s, McCarthy walked the Camino – inspired by a book – and had a life-changing experience. As his oldest son grew up, McCarthy wanted to share that experience with him. His son wasn’t interested until he was 19 and had just broken off a bad long-term relationship. McCarthy jumped at the chance, and they were off. They walked the northern route – the Camino Frances (or at least that’s what I’m guessing from what he writes) through the Pyrenees and the Meseta, into Santiago. I’m not exactly sure how long it took them – the chapters were labeled with miles until Santiago. But McCarthy is strikingly honest about their walk. The ups and downs, both physically and emotionally, the stresses and joys of their relationship, and yes, you can see the growth in both McCarthy and Sam and between them.

Like the first travel book of his I read, I loved that he gave you a sense of walking the Camino with its own joys and hardships and dull moments, while being introspective. He both compared this walk to the one he took 25 years prior, and reflected on the nature of both his relationship with his son as well as the one he had with his own father. It’s engaging and interesting, as well as being introspective and thoughtful.

I found it an absolute delight to read.

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