BIOGRAPHY

Outpedaling the Big C: My Healing Cycle Across America

Bancroft. Sept. 2020. 268p. ISBN 9781610885140. $28.95. MEMOIR
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Pulitzer Prize–winning energy and environmental reporter McGowan (“The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of”) narrates her cross-country journey cycling the TransAmerica Trail. The ride takes McGowan from Oregon to Virginia, and is one she embarked on in part to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. This is not only a wonderful road narrative, with a delightful array of characters and quirky places featured along the way, it is also a heartfelt and engaging account of the author’s battle with cancer. McGowen reveals how she fought the disease and was cancer-free for a number of years at the time of the multimonth ride. She also intersperses recollections of her father, who was repeatedly plagued by melanoma, and their complex relationship. Even readers with limited experience with cancer or cycling will find plenty to enjoy and identify with in this remarkable and thoughtful memoir.
VERDICT This striking personal account may serve as an inspiration to anyone facing difficulties in life. For fans of Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail and William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways.

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