In his memoir, Sederquist (Hiking Out, 2007) concludes that his life, vicissitudes and all, has been a good one.
The book contains 91 anecdotes, reflections or observations, each usually no more than three or four pages. The longest recounts Sederquist’s recovery from depression and the book he wrote about that episode, Hiking Out. Sederquist, in his eighth decade, used his book as the basis for workshops he conducted at a Connecticut prison to “break the cycle of addiction and recidivism” commonly found among inmates. The author discusses his way of coping with common issues, such as “Fear of Failure” and “Fear of Success.” He recounts dealing with commonplace life events: the dulling of the senses that accompanies getting older, children’s and grandchildren’s antics, the death of a family member, an elusive medical diagnosis. The scope of the writer’s interests and experiences is broad—from the making of a submarine sandwich to the laws of physics as they apply to taking a shower to the now-obsolete slide rule. Many readers may find Sederquist’s travel stories the most entertaining parts of the book. He chronicles trips to Italy, Greece, Peru, New Brunswick, and Central and Eastern Europe. Throughout, the writer maintains his sense of humor in the face of the unexpected; in “Be Prepared,” he describes using his first-aid skills after his wife’s accident in Canada and concludes, “I still carry a supply of butterfly bandages.” The book ends with a nice bit of graceful writing that deems death “a transition from remembering to being remembered.” The writing, in fact, is consistently polished. His voice is that of the subtitle’s “life-long hiker” whose trails have taken him down paths both well-worn and fresh. What’s more, he does this with good cheer and a willingness to learn from everything that he encounters.
While there may be no novel ideas here, Sederquist’s good-humor, optimism and varied subjects offer diverting reading.