After reading her debut novel To Live Forever, I instantly became an Andra Watkins fan. Her story of Meriwether Lewis and the Natchez Trace left an impression. Needless to say, when I learned of her next endeavor chronicling her actual walk of the Natchez Trace, I was anxious to read of her courageous and bold adventure.
“I almost forgot about my book. I risked my life to convince people to try my novel, because I thought if I demonstrated dedication to my story, a few more people might read it.”
I have the utmost respect for Andra Watkins accomplishing her goal of walking the Natchez Trace solo, only her determination and endurance serving as her buttress. Physically and mentally demanding, emotions running high, Andra discovers inner peace as she pushes through her body’s screams, her mettle tested, the uncooperative harshness of natures elements. Her father serving as ‘wingman’ of sorts, their strained relationship revitalized and resuscitated as the journey bridges the fissure between these two spirited and stubborn individuals.
I appreciate Andra’s candor with exposing her issues long held within regarding her parents. Capable writing skills, feelings in black and white font add tenderness to an already sentimental narrative. Her quick wit, wry humor and huge heart endear her to readers. Her father is a hoot, truly a one-man-show. No doubt the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. With all certitude Andra has material for a novel based solely on her father, his stories alone worthy of sharing, a man larger than life possessing a very vibrant personality. I enjoyed the intimate glimpse of these two rebuilding their rented bond.
A story I found inspiring on a physical as well as emotional level. Andra excelled in making a memory singularly and plurally.
About the Book:
Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?
Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.
After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.
As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.
For More Information
• Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is available at Amazon.
• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
About the Author
Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.
Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.