Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 354
Release date: August 30th 2005
Source: Library
Summary (from Goodreads): It started out as a simple hike in the Utah canyonlands on a warm Saturday afternoon. For Aron Ralston, a twenty-seven-year-old mountaineer and outdoorsman, a walk into the remote Blue John Canyon was a chance to get a break from a winter of solo climbing Colorado's highest and toughest peaks. He'd earned this weekend vacation, and though he met two charming women along the way, by early afternoon he finally found himself in his element: alone, with just the beauty of the natural world all around him. It was 2:41 P.M. Eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, Aron was climbing down off a wedged boulder when the rock suddenly, and terrifyingly, came loose. Before he could get out of the way, the falling stone pinned his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall.
And so began six days of hell for Aron Ralston.

My review:

If you've looked around my blog, you'll notice that I don't normally read books like this one.  Between a Rock and a Hard Place was a book that I picked up because of my love of rappelling, rock climbing, and canyoneering.  I was intrigued by the story of Aron Ralston, so I decided this one was worth a try.

There was only one thing that I didn't like about this book, and that was the stories of his past.  For the first few, I really liked them and found them very interesting.  Later, however, I found that they dragged on for too long.  There were things in it that I didn't feel were necessary to know to enjoy the rest of the book. I just wanted to get through that sort of thing and get back to him in the present, trapped by the boulder; that was the part that I wanted to read about.  Reading these other stories made me feel as though he should have expected bad luck to come his way.  He showed a careless attitude to what he did before that, as though he didn't care if he was killed.  For example, earlier in his life he had thrown rocks at a bear, almost lost his backpack with all his supplies as he tried to throw it over a ledge, and created an avalanche that almost killed him and two of his friends (who never talked to him again).

There's not much to say about the characters, as there is only one that is there for more than one character, and that is Aron.  As I mentioned earlier, he did some. . . Harmful things before in his life, and I don't really think that they even changed him.  Or at least, they didn't seem to. There's not much else that I can say about  him, other than that I felt so sorry for what happened to him.

As for the writing, it was really good.  There was so much detail that sometimes it was a bit much.  I would give an example, but they would all be too long. All I can say is that there was a lot.  This did help me imagine what was happening in the book.  I can't wait to see the movie, 127 Hours, and I do recommend this one, though probably none of my readers would be interested in it.

*I was going to do a rating as I normally do with the ratings for plot, characters, originality and writing but I would have a lot of trouble doing it for this book, so I'm just going to do a total:*


  1. Thanks for the review! Ralston actually graduated from one of our alma maters (Kristan's) so we perked up when we saw this in our Google Reader.

  2. There is something very fascinating about real life stories of survival, because you know it actually happened. I saw the movie and although I did enjoy it, it was waaaaay too long for me. From your review it sounds like the book could have been shorter as well.
    Although I don't think I would pick up the book, I did enjoy your review though, so don't be shy to review books that are not in your usual genre :)

  3. I agree with your review, I found his experience so intriguing and interesting (it's one of those books where I continually asked myself, "what would I have done?"), but I wasn't all that interested in the past hikes and stories


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