Have you found yourself searching in vain for a great comedy, to get that comedy fix? Well I would recommend trying Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, one of those instant classics. It combines a brilliant comedy duo with the story of the Appalachian Trial. I must stress before we go any further, that I would not recommend watching the film of the same title first. Simple put the film is a poor substitute for the real thing.3

Most of the comedy in A Walk in the Woods’s comes from the comical mishaps suffered by Bryson and Stephen Katz while hiking on the Trail. The single best thing being Katz’s down to earth witty retorts to the comical situations they found themselves in. It is as good as any good Hollywood buddy comedy. Another word of warning, the same cannot be said for Katz’s previous appearance in Bryson’s book Neither Here nor There. Katz plays a very minor role without any of this clever wit coming through.2

camera and photos of monuments around the world

Things go downhill when Bryson takes the reader off to one side to explain a particular facet of the Appalachian Trial. These moments are not bad par say; they just do not live up to standard of the rest of the book. They still benefit largely from Bryson’s dry wit, but have little else going for them. You will be very familiar with his wit if you have read any of his books. Unfortunately, at times his wit can come across as a tad complaining. A Walk in the Woods would have benefited from having much of this material left out.1

Regrettably, the 2015 film of the same name was a very poor imitation of the book. The film comes across as a mere slapstick portrayal of events. With Bryson and Katz not being taken seriously, losing much of the comedy in the process. With the film lacking any gravity or irony to the situations that they find themselves in. Unfortunately, I feel that most of Bryson’s dry wit does not come across in the scenes. If the film had taken the material seriously, it could have worked.3

By Arran Wilkins © 2021 (text only)

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Biography

(1) Bryson, Bill (Author). Roberts, William (Narrator). A Walk in the Woods (Audible Studios. 2005) Amazon audible, Available at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/A-Walk-in-the-Woods-Audiobook/B004FT9S3M?qid=1613055294&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=5B396KYXTPMMP750A0YY [Accessed on 11st February 2021].

(2) Bryson, Bill (Author). Roberts, William (Narrator). Neither Here nor There (Audible Studios. 2009) Amazon audible, Available at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Neither-Here-nor-There-Audiobook/B004FTEVPW?ref=a_library_t_c5_libItem_&pf_rd_p=7bf74090-5cb9-4f5e-bc6f-6ea28d055287&pf_rd_r=9JFXVS16KR1RP578NSF1 [Accessed on 11st February 2021].

Bryson, Bill (Author). Roberts, William (Narrator). A Walk in the Woods (Audible Studios. 2005) Amazon audible, Available at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/A-Walk-in-the-Woods-Audiobook/B004FT9S3M?qid=1613055294&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=5B396KYXTPMMP750A0YY [Accessed on 11st February 2021].

(3) Kwapis, Ken (Directors). Redford, Robert. And Nolte, Nick.etal (Actors). A Walk in the Woods (Entertainment One, 2015) Amazon Prime Video, Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Walk-Woods-Robert-Redford/dp/B088WNS8T8/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=A+Walk+in+the+Woods&qid=1610283874&sr=8-1 [Accessed on 11st February 2021].

Bryson, Bill (Author). Roberts, William (Narrator). A Walk in the Woods (Audible Studios. 2005) Amazon audible, Available at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/A-Walk-in-the-Woods-Audiobook/B004FT9S3M?qid=1613055294&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=5B396KYXTPMMP750A0YY [Accessed on 11st February 2021].

(Image one) Willfried Wende. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/shoes-leather-hiking-work-shoes-5384571/ [Accessed 10th January 2021].

(Image two) Dariusz Sankowski. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/camera-photographs-souvenir-1130731/ [Accessed 21st February 2021].

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