Alan Christoffersen is one those of people that everyone envies. He makes good money, has a successful business, is well-respected in society, and has an adorable wife (McKale). Nothing bad ever seems to touch his life – until the day that McKale falls off a horse that she is riding, and is paralyzed. From that point on, things start to fall apart. He turns his business over to his partner, who yanks the company out from under him. McKale develops a terrible infection and dies. As Alan grieves, his house is foreclosed on, and his cars repossessed. What is a man to do in that situation? Alan decides to have his assistant sell off his assets, leave everything behind, and set off on a cross-country walk.
The story reminded me a bit of Forrest Gump, who ran across the country after the pain of losing his great love, Jenny. Walking or running can be a great thing to do after a person has experienced great loss. It keeps your body healthy, while giving you a lot of time to think, and hopefully get past your grief.
Most of the book is actually not Alan walking, but everything that leads up to it. If the book had quickly rushed into his cross-country walk, the reader would not have had the full impact of how lonely and devastated Alan was. This novel mirrors what a lot of people go through where the main person they love dies. All their time and love has been focused on one person. They have no other friends. When the one person they care about dies, their world is devastated.
What I took away from the book was this: it’s wonderful to have a great love for one person, but remember to also cultivate friendships and show interest in other people. Don’t put all your emotional eggs in one basket. If that one egg breaks, you have lost everything.