This is an autobiography of Charlie Winger, a Colorado climber, guidebook writer and bookstore owner. He has a past, once that his friends didn't know, and the book is clearly cathartic for him.
Winger has told his story in three parts. He begins with the story of growing up as a troubled kid in Chicago. When his mother abandoned the family, he and his sister moved to Kansas, where he eventually became a felon and landed in jail. I found this the most interesting. It's rare to have a story like this told with honesty and real regret.
Part two tells the story of Winger returning to society with training and eventually a successful career in the software field. This ends up taking him to Colorado, where he discovers climbing. Most of this part provides reports of his international trips. The stories are individually interesting but there is no overarching narrative tying the chapters together.
The third part, by far the shortest, tells of his battle with prostate cancer. Getting back in the mountains provided an important motivation for him to fight his disease.
Winger wants this autobiography to be a story of how climbing helped him overcome his troubled past. I had trouble seeing that from what he gives us - - it could just as easily have been a story of how a sympathetic prison employee or the software industry helped him overcome his past. It's obvious that climbing has become very important, but Winger doesn't reflect enough to help us see why that's true. We see this most in the shortest section on cancer, where climbing keeps him going. I would have liked to see more of that in the middle part of the book.
The book is written in a direct, colloquial style. The sentences are short and to the point. Winger cracks jokes along the way, and it's easy to imagine him telling you these stories around a campfire.
http://www.amazon.com/Two-Shadows-inspirational-triumph-adversity/dp/1453786783/Add Features text here.
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