Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LEARNING TO FLY by Steph Davis

LEARNING TO FLY

An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog

By Steph Davis

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1451652055
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

The abrupt end to her marriage left climber and skydiver Davis (High Infatuation: A Climber's Guide to Love and Gravity, 2007) depressed and without a sense of purpose—but not for long.

For 12 years, the author writes, she and her husband led a life of “pure adventure and self-invention, and nothing about it was safe.” Traveling around the world, they challenged each other to various daredevil adventures, including difficult solo climbs without ropes. All this changed when her husband defied an unwritten rule against climbing a possibly fragile sandstone arch in a national park in Utah. He became the target of a media-fueled outcry. Under the threat of criminal proceedings, the pair lost the commercial sponsorship that had sustained their frugal existence, and he abandoned her and disappeared. Skydiving was the one experience she had been unwilling to share with her husband; after 20 years as a rock climber, a fear of falling was ingrained in her. Now, however, Davis was determined to engage in this new challenge. She provides a gripping account of how she overcame her fears and her delight as she mastered the skills needed to skydive. While the adrenaline rush from landing safely is part of the thrill, the intense mental focus necessary for making split-second decisions on opening her chute was also addictive. Overcoming her previous fears, she combined solo rock climbing with potentially dangerous jumps from rocky peaks but received a necessary lesson in caution when she lost control during a jump and was injured.

A new love adds depth to this engaging story of personal growth.