The Adventurer’s Son: A Memoir

Morrow. Feb. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780062876607. $28.99. MEMOIR
Rarely does a parent share with such candid emotion their experience of losing a child as Dial (Packrafting: An Introduction & How-To Guide) does in his memoir, which begins with the author’s early life and passion for the outdoors, then explores how he shared that passion with his children. Dial tells stories of sheltering in tents during storms, traversing rivers, and trekking remote paths with his young son, also named Roman, by his side. In the second half of the book, the author describes his search for his son, who went missing while on a solo trek in Central America. Navigating cultural, geographical, and linguistic barriers, the challenge seemed overwhelming, and Dial leaves no emotion unaddressed, sharing his grief, panic, guilt, fear, hope, confusion, and frustration throughout his long search for answers. While heartbreaking to read, Dial’s story is also a powerful testament to the bond between parent and child and the need to do the things we love, even when fear seeks to stop us.
VERDICT Dial’s memoir is a beautiful book that will speak most ardently to parents, but also to adventurers, travelers, scientists, and all those who find joy in exploring the world.

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