Title: END OF THE ROPE
Subtitle: MOUNTAINS, MARRIAGE AND MOTHERHOOD
Author: JAN REDFORD
Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, CANADA, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, MOUNTAIN CLIMBING, FAMILY DYSFUNCTION
Length: 400 PAGES
Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA
Release Date: APRIL 17, 2018
Price: $32.00 CDN (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
In the tradition of Cheryl Strayed’s “WILD“, the gritty, funny, achingly honest story of a young climber’s struggle to become whole by testing herself on mountains and life.
As a young teenager, Jan Redford runs away from a cottage where her father has just put her down for the zillionth time and throws herself against a 100-foot cliff face. Somewhere in that shaky, outraged kid is a bedrock belief in her right to exist, which carries her to the top. In that brief flash of victory, she sets her sights on becoming a climber.
Falling in love with climbing eventually leads to falling in love with the climbers in her tight-knit western Canadian climbing community. It also means that the people she loves regularly vanish in an instant, caught in an avalanche or by a split second of inattention. It almost crushes Jan when her boyfriend, the gifted climber Dan Guthrie, is killed. Instead of marrying Dan, she marries one of his best friends, a driven climber who was there for her when she was grieving and becomes the father of her two children. Not what either of them planned.
End of the Rope is raw and real. Mountains challenge Jan, marriage almost annihilates her, and motherhood could have been the last straw…but it isn’t.
How she climbs out of the hole she digs for herself is as thrilling and inspiring as any of her climbs–and just as much an act of bravery.
Upon initial perusal of END OF THE ROPE, potential readers may think the same as I originally thought: with a subtitle like Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood, I expected this to be one of those annoying books about a woman whose life is perfect; one who has it all, and who is now going to “teach” readers how they too can have it all and become the perfect “Super-Mom.” YUCK!!! (Plus, I call Bullshit on those people – I think they are full of crap.)
On the surface, potential readers might think that if END OF THE ROPE isn’t about being a “Super Mom” then it must be about mountain climbing, and only mountain climbing. Wrong again, this is definitely not the case.
Yes. It does contain quite a few mountain and mountain climbing stories, as well as some of the multitude of accomplishments of the author – female Canadian climber, Jan Redford.
This surprising and engaging memoir is so much more than just a story of mountain climbing, and so much more interesting.
Jan Redford tells the story of her life so far; a life that has been anything but normal, and anything but easy.
Jan Redford learned to climb after high school, in Wyoming at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She writes about her time at NOLS at the age of eighteen that: “I felt like I’d been sleepwalking through my life, and climbing propped open my eyes. Made me fully alive.” She knew from then on that Climbing would be a large part of her existence for the rest of her life.
While Jan Redford’s life did revolve for many years around her climbing and the climbing “lifestyle,” Jan is much more than just a climber.
In reality, this is a memoir about growing up in a highly dysfunctional family – one that presented the image of perfection to those around them. That outer, superficial image of the perfect family was a sham. Jan’s father was an alcoholic and her mother, although physically present, was emotionally absent. The entire family lived in an atmosphere which required everyone to ‘walk on eggshells’ lest they pull the pin on the ticking time bomb that was the family patriarch. Who could blame Jan for wanting to run away as far, and as fast as possible?
Climbing was the escape that offered Jan not only a way out, but also a way forward. The West Coast of Canada offers amazingly scenic mountain ranges and a large, insular community of like-minded individuals. It was in this climbing community Jan found her home and her people.
Tales of the antics of her youthful indescretions will have the reader fondly remembering their own youth capers.
END OF THE ROPE is a story of running away and finding yourself. Falling in lust. Challenging yourself. Finding your soulmate and losing him to the mountains you both lived.
It is a tale of being hurt down to the core of your soul, digging deep and doing what is right for you; no matter what other people think or say.
As it states in the subtitle, this book is about Mountains, Motherhood and Marriage. Each of these three M’s will bring Jan joy and happiness as well as unspeakable pain and sorrow.
END OF THE ROPE is a memoir not to be missed.
Any book that can cause me to laugh out loud, snort in disbelief and/or exasperation, as well as have me in tears is a book that I will not soon forget. END OF THE ROPE did all of these things to me, and more. Because of this, I would be doing a disservice to potential readers to rate this book as anything lower than 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Jan Redford may be an awesome mountain climber, but she is an even better writer.
In August 2020, the Paperback version of this book is being released. It can be pre-ordered now at your favorite bookstore.
I would love to hear back from any of you that go on to read END OF THE ROPE. After you finish reading it, come back here to let me know what you thought.
To read an excerpt from this book click HERE.
Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.
And be sure to also follow me on Social media where I sometimes offer chances to win books. ** I might just be offering a chance to win books sometime over the next few weeks.**
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
JAN REDFORD is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU and holds a master’s in creative writing from UBC.
Her stories, articles, and personal essays have been published in the Globe and Mail, National Post, Mountain Life, Explore, Catapult, LitHub, and anthologies and have won or been shortlisted in several writing contests.
She lives with her family in Squamish, BC, where she mountain bikes, trail runs, climbs, and skis.
Her memoir, End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood is her first book.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links: