Title: The Cactus Eaters General Subject Matter: One man's journey on the PCT. In his own words: " How I Lost My Mind-And Almost Found Myself-On The Pacific Crest Trail." Theme: Survival Looking for that next exciting adventure? Look no further than your local bookstore. The Cactus Eaters, by Dan White, will leave you feeling like you hiked beside him and his ex-girlfriend, Allison. This is a perfect book for one to read while looking at The Pacific Trail Crest for an adventure, for White carefully describes each location with detail. The author has even presented his audience with a cover that indicates the harshness of the trail. Where else could you enjoy a six-month trail for only $14.95 plus tax? For those of you who are open for the challenge, the ISBN is 973-0-06-137693-1. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a trail that starts at the Mexican border and ends at the Canadian one. Most hikers never finish the trail, even though all have had high hopes. Dan White is one of the few individuals who can proudly say he completed the PCT. The Cactus Eaters is not White's first attempt to tell his journey. When he first completed the trail, about ten years ago, Dan had done a quick "vomit-draft" of the story. White's story was recently given a second chance, due to his wife Amy's encouragement. Therefore, the purpose of Dan White's novel is to once again relive his journey, fulfill his dream of writing the book, and to share the PCT to many who may never cross its paths. Even though there are other hikers involved, the novel is strictly from Dan White's point of view. At times, it seems that White might have wanted to ask Allison or the Gingerbread Man to include their reactions. These brief reactions have helped bring in a larger group of readers. Though the book is directed towards adults, readers as young as the tenth grade can enjoy this novel, especially since The Cactus Eaters is clearly written in an informal chronological order, with many instances described in humor. Before reading The Cactus Eaters, I had no idea what the PCT was. It's because of Dan White's novel that I took the time to research the PCT and many different aspects of California history. Growing up in the Bay Area, I had no idea that, for example, that "Stevens Creek" was actually named after someone. Even though, at times, I wanted to fast forward through some of the facts, I'm glad that I didn't. Now, I'm better able to connect to the area in which I live. If one thinks about it, perhaps White wrote historical Californian information to challenge one's patience level, for he to had challenge himself on the trail. I believe that this novel has accomplished the goal of getting the reader to engage in the hardships of the hikers. When Dan reaches the end of the trail, you feel as though you have accomplished something, and you began to feel excited for him because you literally feel as though you went through the rain, bugs, and water shortage problems with him. Here is a short poem to emphasize the emotions I am describing: "I've been through hiker for many day Living on berries and pine nuts, oy vay. They don't have many calories, they make you go fast. But unfortunately, many poor hikers got gassed. Oh, PCT. Oh, PCT. How I love thee. You killed most of the Donner Party, but ah, yeah, try me" (346). The only complaint that I have about the book is the lack of pictures. Though the cover boasts a harsh reality, there are no pictures within the rest of the book. Luckily, there is a journal entry contained within the book, and in the P.S. section at the end of the book, one can look up more books regarding the PCT, and that will help them develop their own journey into discovering the PCT. One might wonder who Dan White is, especially when the name brings up interesting information on Google. Dan White is not the man who killed the San Francisco major; instead, he is the man who killed a cactus. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, you're going to have to read the book. The author of The Cactus Eaters is a man who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a professor at San Jose State University, and he has had worked published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Backpacker magazine, and in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University, and his MFA from Columbia University. Before becoming a writer, he was a substitute teacher, and quite frankly, describes this job in a "laugh out loud" comical manner in his book. Dan is married to Amy Ettinger, who has written an article about how it felt to be married to Dan while he was completing The Cactus Eaters. Of course, I'm sure she is proud of him for his complication of finally finishing the story. When meeting Dan White in person, he had said that he would never do the trail again. So for all of you might not ever get the chance to physically hike the Pacific Crest Trail, get yourself a comfortable chair and enjoy the journey. For the ones who have already hiked the trial, buy a copy of the book and laugh out loud as you re-experience your journey once more.