THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE
by M.M. Wolthoff
Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age
Publisher: River Grove Books
Date of Publication: February 29, 2015
Number of Pages: 220
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Hunter’s friend Ty survived war in the Middle East only to succumb to cancer at home. On a quest with his college buddies and Ty’s father, Hunter journeys from South Texas into the mountains and desert of West Texas to bury his close friend. During this trek, they’ll drink, hunt, party, and encounter unexpected people and enthralling landscapes as Hunter deals with his grief, compounded by his struggle with depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder.
The West Texas Pilgrimage is a love letter to West Texas and the wild culture that defines it. Author M. M. Wolthoff vividly depicts the regional landscape, exploring intriguing stops along the way and the authentic context of music, food, and language integral to this generation of Texans, while frankly and thoughtfully addressing relationships, mourning, and mental illness, with characters as unforgettable as the region itself.
PRAISE FOR THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE
I laughed. I cried. This is a book that is real, honest and reminds all of us that life is filled with ups and downs. The only way to keep moving forward is to get real with ourselves about whom we are and accept our beauty and our pain. This young author has amazing wisdom that is so articulately shared with readers of all ages. — 5 Stars, Amazon Verified Purchase
The West Texas Pilgrimage was insightful into the mind of a privileged, pre-adult male who tries to self-medicate his OCD condition with alcohol. While reading, I felt the main character’s vulnerabilities as he struggled with his feelings regarding his career choice, the loss of a good friend to cancer, and the complications of his search for the right female life mate. The book was a quick read…only because I could not put it down! There were several “ah-ha” moments when I thought: oh my, that’s really how a pre-adult male thinks??!? I never knew!! — 5 Stars Donna J Millon
I read the first half of the book in one night; it draws you in with believable characters and real challenges they face. Could have been written about people you know or have met. It covers some tough topics but is an enjoyable read. — 5 Stars Peter Day
Really nice read. Very detailed description of so many things made me feel like I was right there with them. 2 nights to read for a non reader like me makes for a really easy and entertaining time. Thumbs up. — 5 Stars Nunya
The book brought me right back to the border towns of my youth. Step outside any bar and be hit with the smell of fajita and sewer. Glorious! — 5 Stars Amazon Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings on this book. If you can get past the amount of alcohol that the characters are drinking and that they are driving while drinking, the underlying story is actually a good one.
The story centers around 4 friends getting together to put a 5th friend, Ty, to rest that lost a battle to cancer. Most of them knew each other growing up, but a few were added during college. So after Ty was cremated, his father gathers the friends and they make a journey to West Texas and Big Bend National Park to say their final farewells to Ty and remember the man he was to each of them.
But in getting to that part of the story (which is about 75% of the way into the book), there is a personal journey for Hunter. He is dealing with depression, and like most people, feels like he cannot discuss it with any of his friends and walks a fine line between drinking a lot or taking a pill to help him sleep. He is hiding a pain that goes deep for him, and perhaps he felt some shame in his diagnosis. He finally talks to his buddy Cinco, but not until Cinco practically drags it out of him near the end of the book. Until that point he just drinks a lot to keep his buzz going. I think many people could relate to Hunter and what he was going through in his life.
I thought the author did a good job describing West Texas and the small towns and what you might expect to see if you visit those areas. It is a part of Texas my husband and I want to visit, so I liked getting a view into what I could expect to find when we visit that part of the state.
Overall the book is somewhat depressing and I was surprised no one else died behind the wheel or from the excessive drinking. It could easily have happened considering how much each person drank in the few days this story spans. The only sane person was the father, Dr Sanderson, but I chalk that up to age. But at the same time, the reason for the gathering was touching and my favorite part of the book is when they were on a summit at San Isabel Peak saying goodbye to Ty and they each brought a memento that reminded them of their time with him or what represented his life. I actually had tears in my eyes reading song lyrics one friend wrote. The words were very touching and I could see it being made into a song.
We give it 3 paws up and worth reading!
Matthew Martin Wolthoff lives in McAllen, Texas, with his wife, Lucy Ann, and three children, Hunter Ann, McCoy Martin, and Kerr Dunkin. He grew up in a military family, living all over the world until finding home in South Texas, where he went to high school in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His parents instilled a passion for reading and writing in him early in life that grows stronger every day. An avid outdoorsman, he finds his inspiration—and peace of mind—in the shallow waters of the Lower Laguna Madre and the wilderness of the South Texas brush country. His first West Texas pilgrimage was in 2010. It was a life-changing event.
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