“And don’t forget, when things seem bad-and they will out there-every day is a chance to be better than you were the day before.”
The Other Side of Lost, hands down, is the best Jessi Kirby book I read to date. This was so unexpected, so profound and thought provoking, so original and touching. Here I am again assuming the book was a cutesy read because again of the cover, but I should have known better because I have already established and observed that Ms. Kirby’s books usually involve grief and loss but still, this book is incredibly deeper than I thought it would be, my heart is still aching (the good kind), still blowing my nose and wiping my eyes as I am writing this review.
The story doesn’t really start impressively. It simply tries to establish a truth about how social media controls so many lives, how so many young people today seek validation and self-worth from how many likes they earn. How they filter and edit everything about themselves just to appear so put together on photos while living a sorry, miserable life in reality.
I love how our main character, Mari, finally came to her senses and decided once and for all to get rid of all her social media accounts and really do something to change her life. The universe seems to agree with her because she somehow finds herself on a hike and not just a simple hike, that of John Muir Trail all the way to Mount Whitney which was supposed to be her cousin Bri’s hike, however the latter died just two months ago so Mari’s hike at first purposely seems to honor the death of her cousin but as it goes on, it’s starts to become her own to literally and figuratively discover who she is and what she’s capable of. It’s honestly so poetic and sincere, several times I had to wipe my eyes of tears I didn’t even want there. Ugh!
Reading the book already feels like taking the hike myself and I’m really thankful to the author for the vivid, concrete descriptions of the beautiful sceneries and places of the Sierras starting with Cloud Rest, The Thousand Island Lake, The Red’s Meadow Resort (the burgers and shakes sound like heaven!), the Purple Lake, Silver Pass Creek (Yikes!), Bear Ridge, Muir Trail Ranch (wow, hot springs!), Evolution Basin, Muir Pass, Muir Hut, Golden Staircase, Rae Lakes Basin, Guitar Lake (looks really cool!) and finally Mount Whitney. The book could already be an inspirational, helpful guide to hiking the JMT to Mount Whitney. I also couldn’t keep myself from Googling these places. I am that riveted.
So incredible how Mari started the hike so lost and alone, unsure of herself and of her future and ending it with several wonderful friends and a confident sense of identity while being at peace with the loss of her beloved cousin, realizing that she never really lost her and the she was with her every step of her hike. It’s a beautiful, touching, perfect ending to the story. I officially love you, Ms. Kirby. ❤