I can’t believe it took me two months to read Wanderers, but it did. In part this was because of the massive reading slump I have been having, but it was also down to the book.
I really liked the idea of Andrews’ book here – to introduce the reader to 10 women writers who were also keen walkers – and for the first couple of chapters I was really enjoying the book. Unfortunately, the following chapters were quite repetitive in structure, style and – dare I say it? – choice of subject. There was little connection between the chapters or women that were featured other than they they wrote and walked and sometimes wrote about their walking.
While Andrews throughout the book insists that that women have always been walkers (of course they have) but had been overshadowed in in their writing, or rather in getting their writing published, by men who wrote about walking, I ended up feeling that the book could have gone into a lot more depth about this aspect of the history of women walking for exercise and pleasure.
As for the chapters themselves, Andrews tried to introduce the reader to the different characters but I ended up feeling that the author was more invested in a literary analysis of the women’s writing about walking than in their actual experiences.
I should note here that “walking” referred to in the book is the same as hill walking or hiking, but the women didn’t confine themselves to walking for exercise. For them walking and being at one with nature and the elements was a way of life and way of being alive. This was an aspect I very much appreciated in Andrews’ collection of walkers. I just wish there had been more of an insight into the relevance of walking in terms of health, mental well-being, social change etc. I think this was what was lacking most for me.
Still, I’m glad I read the book.