our book club reads happy books!

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

on April 15, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I read “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston. The movie “127 Hours” is based  on this book, which is the true story of Aron Ralston’s experience of being trapped in the canyons of Utah and having to cut off his arm to free himself. Try to stay with me here!

I have yet to convince anyone to see the movie “127 Hours”. I tell them what it’s about and they immediately stop listening. So at least let me tell you this: it is one of the most life affirming movies I have ever seen. And the cinematography is gorgeous. At the very least, you come away with an understanding of why someone would want to go canyoneering in the Utah desert. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. I watched it because it was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 2011.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it either, so I watched it on DVD while sewing. I admit, during the amputation scene I was sewing furiously and not looking at the TV, but the rest of the time I was riveted to the screen. Whenever I am flipping through the TV channels and it is on, it sucks me in once again. (I have yet to make it entirely through the amputation scene, though!)

I finally read Aron’s book because I wanted to see how accurate the movie was. The answer is “pretty darn”. This was one case when I was glad I had seen the movie first. It helped to picture his surroundings, how exactly he was trapped, and the mechanics he used to free himself.

Did I enjoy the book? It was pretty good – I liked the movie better. It does go into more detail about Aron’s climbing life.  Aron has an engineering degree and he get’s into a lot of technical detail about his climbs. Since I don’t see myself ever mountain climbing, I began to skim those sections.  However, I could relate to the book in a way I wouldn’t have been able to a few years ago. To tell the truth, I never really understood people’s desire to push themselves to the limit. I will never be an athletic person (My favorite sport is reading, and when I’m looking for something more strenuous, I sew). But when I started training for a half marathon a little over 3 years ago, I learned how gratifying it is to attain physical goals that you thought were beyond you. And one of the very first benefits I realized from running was how nice it is to be outdoors and appreciating nature. (The fact that I was diagnosed with skin cancer 3 years later? Purely coincidental I hope – I blame that on all my childhood sun poisoning!). And he voiced something that I had a hard time articulating when people have asked me in the past if I had fun at a race. “Fun isn’t always fun”.

And what about the amputation scene in the book? I actually found myself squinting my eyes at that part. It is hard to read with your eyes closed, though! I did manage to get through it (very quickly).

This story, when it happened, really captured the attention of the world. I think everyone asked themselves, “would I be able to do that?”. I guess the answer depends on the person, and hopefully we never have to find out.  But in our own lives, we are sometimes called on to do things that we think are  beyond our capabilities. Successfully accomplishing these tasks often brings the greatest reward. The key is to accept the challenge – and it wouldn’t hurt to let someone know where you are going, and bring a pocket knife!


3 responses to ““Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

  1. Trish says:

    I’ve been meaning to both read this book AND see this movie! I think I will read the book first… after I’m done my current read! 🙂

  2. […] “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”(happypathbookclub.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] going to get one of my limb stuck in the rocks and I would have to cut it off to free myself like Aron Ralston in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. But then I remembered that I didn’t have a dull pocketknife with me. And I was with about 7 […]

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