If somebody writes a memoir without being famous, he better had a damn interesting life plus the ability to write about it in a terrific manner.
It's save to say both is true for Andy Walker‘s pilot's tale.
He is a master in telling - or better: showing - stuff interestingly, let me quote a sentence:
"my daily income could never buy me a steak dinner with a glass of wine"
That's just a much more interesting way to put it as just to state "I had little money".
The description and characterization of the other people touching his life is also very lifely. An example:
"My boss, Fred, is a Vietnam veteran with a cavernous heart and bright, almost clown-like rosy-red cheeks".
Do you have a picture in your head you are able to complete with your own fantasy? I surely do.
The amount of detail, especially while conductings airplanes, is very high. Some of this stuff might be very technical for people who have never flown an airplane, but others are a very bright and nice look behind the curtains of a profession most of us might know almost nothing about. For instance, I did not know the axiom among pilots with goes like this:
„Never run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.“
By the way, is there any place on this earth, this pilot/craftsman/author has not been to? Plus, he has lived in so many different US state, it’s thrilling! The most interesting place might be Alaska and he has drawn this northern state in so many colors of white that I am now dreaming of a vacation in Alaska.
The author has written this while being retired already. It is heart-warming how he writes about the decisions and mistakes he has made as a young man, especially about his first marriage and his son. This shows him as a deeply human being, able to reflect and, hopefully, able to forgive himself.
Even side characters like his parents become very lifely in some scenes, especially in the very important chapters about the dangerous flight in Alaska 1994, when the author and his parents almost lost their lifes. The author comes back to this (maybe most thrilling and certainly very dangerous) experience several times and reflects on it, let his parents reflect as well. Luckily, the three of them survived to tell the tale.
As in many lifes, sad things have happend. He lost family members, he spent many more years (25) away from Utah than he ever wanted, he has not seen his son as often as he wished to. Obviously, it’s difficult to have it all.
But certainly, he has seen the world and, meanwhile, not only really understood the different places on his many visits, but, most of all: himself. Therefore, he was able to put a premis in his memoire, which leaves me as its reader in a very satisfied place after reading.
Thank you for the many nice hours I was able to enjoy reading about the life of a grown man, looking back to his professional life with as many setbacks as adventures and achievements. It’s hard to believe that all this fits in just one life.
My apologies for any grammar and other mistakes in this review, I am from Germany and English is not my mother tongue.