Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needs a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. Fifteen miles of rugged highway each day for thirty-four days.
After striking-out with everyone in her life, she settles upon her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterates his aim. Her father is every grown child’s nightmare of embarrassing behavior. They’ve never gotten along.
As Watkins trudges America's forgotten highway, she loses herself in despair and pain. Her tenuous connection to her father unravels in a series of epic misunderstandings. Will they finish the trip and turn ‘I wish I had’ into ‘I’m glad I did?’ Or will they kill each other?
Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is a New York Times best selling memoir for everyone who suffers from shattered dreams and dysfunctional relationships. If you like Cheryl Strayed, Bill Bryson, or Elizabeth Gilbert, you’ll love this humorous, heartbreaking memoir from New York Times best selling author Andra Watkins.
Buy Not Without My Father today and discover your next favorite read!
Customer ReviewsSee All
Not without my father
Have to give Andra credit for a well written account and of her journey of 444 miles on foot. Her dynamics with her father and then mother must have been difficult to write. Traveled the Trace once and have been interested in the Lewis and Clark journey out west. Read their two volume account.
I highly reccomend this book to anyone feeling stuck. This book has encouraged me to take my own journey through history and along the Natchez Trace. Thank you Andra for paving the way for so many people to just get up and move.
A Profound Walk
"Not Without My Father" is ambitious adventure memoir. It is funny, poignant, agonizing, raunchy, and delightfully "out there." Andra Watkins shows her mettle throughout the book and is not afraid to show her weakness, her doubt, and her sometimes dysfunctional relationship with her parents. The story moves skillfully between despair, hope, anger, and elation. I found it hard to put down once I settled into its rhythm.
Roy Lee Watkins, the father the story refuses to be without, spins his yarns and shares his own despair, doubt, and hope. His constant sparring with his daughter (they both know exactly which buttons to push) offers insight into a universal clash of generations, of fathers and daughters, and by Roy's telling, fathers and sons, too. This memoir contributes to the literature of American families, especially families of the American South.
I think it is a writer's book, which is high praise. Ms. Watkins sums it up simply as she nears the bittersweet end of her journey:
"My body always did things my mind doubted. Growth happened when I overcame my mind."
It is a story of raw wounds, both physical and emotional, and heartfelt healing. The Watkins family courageously shows the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sublime. You cannot read this book without gaining insights about the American family that will enlighten as you consider some of your very own family dynamics.
Ms. Watkins could have glossed over certain details and hidden some of the profound places her internal journey took her as she trekked the ancient highway we've come to know as the Natchez Trace. But she doesn’t hide much of anything. She ties herself to Meriwether Lewis, a main character in her novel “To Live Forever,” as a traveling companion. What led her to the 444-mile walk was the desire to follow for herself the very path her characters follow in the novel.
Readers will find much to delight in, but they might also squirm under the bright light Watkins’ pen wields. It is an honest and open memoir. By definition, that's what a memoir is supposed to be.