The first book in the inspiring New York Times bestselling series about an executive who loses everything he holds dear and embarks on a walk across America that changes his life forever.
What would you do if you lost everything—your job, your home, and the love of your life—all at the same time? When it happens to Seattle ad executive Alan Christoffersen, he’s tempted by his darkest thoughts. Instead, he decides to take a walk. But not any ordinary walk. Taking with him only the barest of essentials, Alan leaves behind all that he’s known and heads for the farthest point on his map: Key West, Florida. The people he encounters along the way, and the lessons they share with him, will save his life—and inspire yours.
A life-changing journey, both physical and spiritual, The Walk is the first of an unforgettable bestselling series of books about one man’s search for hope.
About the Author
Richard Paul Evans is the #1 bestselling author of The Christmas Box. Each of his more than thirty-five novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than thirty-five million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than twenty-four languages. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Mothers Book Award, the Romantic Times Best Women’s Novel of the Year Award, the German Audience Gold Award for Romance, five Religion Communicators Council Wilbur Awards, the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award, and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children. You can learn more about Richard on Facebook at Facebook.com/RPEFans, or visit his website, RichardPaulEvans.com.
Hometown:Salt Lake City, Utah
Date of Birth:October 11, 1962
Place of Birth:Salt Lake City, Utah
Education:B.A., University of Utah, 1984
Read an Excerpt
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”
Alan Christoffersen’s diary
According to legend, once the sand of Key West is in your shoes, you cannot go back from whence you came. It is true for me. I’m alone on the beach watching the blood-red sun baptized in the Gulf of Mexico. And there is no returning to what I left behind.
The air is saturated with the smells of salt water and kelp and the sounds of breaking waves and screeching seagulls. Some part of me wonders if this might be a dream and hopes I’ll wake in bed and find that I’m still in Seattle, and McKale is gently running her fingernails up and down my back. She would whisper, “Are you awake, my love?” I would turn to her and say, “You’ll never believe what I just dreamed.”
But it’s no dream. I’ve walked the entire length of the country. And the woman I love is never coming back.
The water before me is as blue as windshield wiper fluid. I feel the twilight breeze against my unshaven, sunburned face, and I close my eyes. I’ve come a long way to get here—nearly 3,500 miles. But, in ways, I’ve come much further. Journeys cannot always be measured in physical distance.
I slide the backpack off my shoulders and sit down on the sand to untie my shoes and pull off my socks. My threadbare, once white, now-gray cotton socks stick to my feet as I peel them off. Then I step forward on the wet, shell-studded sand and wait for the receding water to return and cover my feet. I’ve had hundreds of hours to think about this moment, and I let it all roll over me: the wind, the water, the past and present, the world I left behind, the people and towns along the way. It’s hard to believe I’m finally here.
After a few minutes, I go back and sit cross-legged in the sand next to my pack and do what I always do at the pivotal moments of my life: I take out a pen, open my diary, and begin to write.
My writing habit began long ago—long before this diary, long before my walk. The Christmas I was eight years old, my mother gave me my first diary. It was a small, yellow vinyl book debossed with deep flourishes. My favorite feature was its brass key and lock. It made me feel important to have something in my life of such consequence that I needed to lock it up from the world. That Christmas night was the first time in my life that I wrote in a diary. I figured with the lock and all, only I would be reading it, so I wrote the entry to myself, a habit I would continue the rest of my life.
Today is Christmas. I got a Rock’em Sockem Robots, a set of walky-talkys and red sweetish fish that I already ate. Mom gave me this diary with a lock and key and told me I should write every day. I asked her to write on my first page.
My Dear Son,
Thank you for letting me write in your special book. And Merry Christmas! It is a very special Christmas.
You will someday understand this. Every so often read these words and remember how much I love you and always will.
Mom says it doesn’t matter what I write and if I wait to write just the importent things then I’ll probly never write anything, because importent things just look like everything else except when you look back on them. The thing is to write what yor thinking and feelling. Mom looked better today. I think she’ll be better soon.
I’ve touched that writing so often that it’s barely legible. My mother’s entry was one of those events she spoke of, the kind that look like nothing except through time’s rearview mirror. My mother died from breast cancer forty-nine days later—on Valentine’s Day.
It was early in the morning, before I usually got up for school, that my father led me into the room to see her. On the nightstand next to her bed there was a single yellow rose in a bud vase and my homemade Valentine’s card, with a drawing of a heart with an arrow through it. Her body was there, but she wasn’t. She would have smiled and called to me. She would have praised my drawing. I knew she wasn’t there.
In my father’s typical stoic manner, we never spoke about her death. We never talked about feelings nor the things that gave rise to them. That morning he made me breakfast, then we sat at the table, listening to the silence. The people from the mortuary came and went, and my father managed everything with the steadiness of a business transaction. I’m not saying he didn’t care. He just didn’t know how to show his feelings. That was my father. I never once kissed him. That’s just the way he was.
The reason we start things is rarely the reason we continue them.
Alan Christoffersen’s Road Diary
I started writing in my diary because my mother told me to. After her death, I continued because to stop would be to break a chain that connected me to her. Then, gradually, even that changed. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the reason I wrote was always changing. As I grew older, I wrote as proof of my existence. I write, there-
fore I am.
I am. In each of us, there is something that, for better or worse, wants the world to know we existed. This is my story—my witness of myself and the greatest journey of my life. It began when I least expected it. At a time when I thought nothing could possibly go wrong.
© 2010 RICHARD PAUL EVANS
What People are Saying About This
Hoda and I both thoroughly enjoyed this book . . . The Walk is beautifully written.
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide for The Walk includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Richard Paul Evans. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Life is good for Alan Christoffersen. He has a beautiful wife, a great house and is head of a growing company, but all at once, Alan’s life changes permanently and irrevocably – he loses his family and job. Now completely on this own, Alan must figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on. He starts with a simple step, quite literally: he decides to go for a walk across America.
1. The author writes in the style of a diary. Do you enjoy this style of writing? Didit help you relate to the characters? Did you think it made the story stronger or weaker?
2. At the outset, Alan’s life seems to be perfect. However, in the prologue he makes it clear things don’t work out as he imagined. How did this admission and foreshadowing affect your reading?
3. At the start of chapter three the author tells us “procrastination is the thief of dreams” (31). Is this a true statement? How does that philosophy relate to Alan’s life? Is it true in your life?
4. After McKale’s accident, Alan is so preoccupied with her that his company disappears under his feet. What was his reaction to the news? How do you think you would have handled these major events all at once?
5. Alan became overwhelmed by his grief, yet he never lost his love for McKale. What does that say about him as a person and husband? How did those feelings help him through his pain?
6. Alan says he and McKalewere each other’s only friends. Did this focus only on each other end up having a detrimental effect or positive one? Why?
7. Alan’s father also lost his wife at an early age, and so had been through a similar situation. How did he support his son during the ordeal? Was it helpful?
8. The Christoffersens were terrible at handling money, and quickly had all their belongings repossessed. How does this metaphor relate to what else Alan had lost?
9. Before almost killing himself, Alan heard a voice that said, “Life is not yours to take” (175). Who, if anyone, was speaking to him, and what did that message mean?
10. Alan wrote in his diary he believeddeep in our hearts we all want to walk free. Do you think that’s true? Would people really prefer to be unchained from their belongings?
11. “A good walk in the woods is as effective as psychotherapy” (198). What is Alan trying to gain from his walk? A chance to get away from his problems or a long-term therapy session or both?
12. At what point did you begin to see a change in Alan? Who do you feel had the most profound effect on him during his walk?
13. When McKale visits Alan in a vision, what did she mean when she talked about Angel? What relationship did she see between him and the woman who he helped on the highway? What relationship do you think Alan and Angel will have?
14. Where do you see the story headed? What other trials do you expect Alan to encounter on his way to Key West?
Enhance Your Bookclub
1. Alan begins the story as a big shot ad executive. Create your own advertisement for The Walk and share it with the group. Explain how you created your design.
2. Alan spends much of the novel walking and thinking. Go for a walk with your group as you discuss the story.
3. Do you like to hike? Alan also became proficient in setting up tents and living off the land. Take a weekend trip to the woods or the mountains with your group to take in nature.
4. More than once Alan stopped in a restaurant claiming the best milkshakes in the world. What does it take to make the perfect shake? Create some with your group and see who can make the tastiest version.
A Conversation with Richard Paul Evans
1. What message are you trying to share with this novel?
I believe that we were meant to live as social creatures, to reach out and bless each other’s lives. To paraphrase what Dickens wrote, “…it’s required of all men to walk abroad among humanity.”
2. Why did you decide to write in diary form, rather than another styles?
I began writing in diary form nearly 15 years ago with my second novel Timepiece. I enjoy doing it and it makes for a very readable, interesting book.
3. There is a spiritual side to the novel as Alan wrestles with his feelings toward God. Why did you choose to add this aspect to the story?
It is my experience that almost everyone who suffers a major loss, whether a professed believer in God or not, wonders about God and struggles with either blame or confusion. It was an issue I wanted to address head-on, especially with Ally, the waitress, who asks: why do we blame God for the bad things but not the good?
4. Are you like Alan, who said that everyone has a deep desire to leave everything behind and just keep moving? Or do you prefer to stay close to home?
Seeing I’ve been in 13 cities in the last three weeks I suppose I’m more like Alan than I want to believe. But as I get older I long to just be home.
5. Why did you choose to call out certain parts of Alan’s diary to start each chapter?
It’s a style I’ve used before in my writing and one that is very popular with my readers. As I write the focus is on creating a story that flows quickly, so the reader becomes lost in the experience. More prosaic passages can stop that flow. I discovered by pulling them out and putting them at the beginning of a chapter heading, where the reader is already transitioning, makes for a more enjoyable read.
6. You write a very descriptive narrative about Washington State where Alan travels, and seem to have a lot of knowledge of the area. Have you traveled there before?
My daughter, Jenna, and I rented a car and drove the route, carefully observing what he would see, where he would stop and what he would eat. I initially tried to write this story in my den and realized it was impossible to do without being there. This means that over the next four years my daughter Jenna and I will travel across America together, something I’m very excited about.
7. Alan contemplates an important question on his walk that is good for you as well: Who really does have the greatest milkshakes?
I honestly don’t know. I’m diabetic so I didn’t try any. My daughter liked Zeke’s.
8. The Walk is the first book in your planned series. What other adventures are in store for Alan on his trip?
You’ll have to wait and see.
9. You’ve written a number of best sellers. What is it about writing that you enjoy? What is your process in creating stories that people enjoy so much?
I suppose I have an active imagination and writing allows me to live it out. I truly feel as if I’m a conduit for these stories and there are times that I don’t even know what I’m writing until it’s poured through me and I can confront it on the page. People are looking for inspiration and my books are sometimes the vehicles of what people are looking for. It’s my job, however, to make it entertaining.
10. What are you working on now?
A love story called Promise Me, due out Fall 2010.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love the picturesque descriptions the author portrays as Alan travels from one destination to another. I feel like I'm along for the walk as in my mind I live the events taking place. I laughed and cried. I'm excited this is going to be a 5 book series. I already feel like the main character is my friend.
I've been reading The Walk out loud every night to my husband and normally Richard's books don't make me cry. But this new book has me pulling Kleenexes out one after another. I can feel the pain of loss of something that can never be replaced. I can feel Alan's desperation to get away, just walk away from the pain to find something, anything, new that will take his mind off of the tragic departure of the thing he holds most dear, the love of his sweetheart, his wife. I've read all of Richard's books but this one moved me more than all the others combined. You see, my husband is Alan Christoffersen, the name Rick used for his new book. Al died tragically December 1st, 2008. This book honors him with a story that truly is a journey from love and loss to hope and joy. Rick, thank you with all my heart for caring for my precious sweetheart. He's probably a little embarassed by all the attention, but I know he is smiling too. I sincerely look forward to the rest of the journey.
Alan Christoffersen walks after he loses everything, his wife, career, home, and even his faith and all hope. As he takes his walk he keeps a diary to record his thoughts ( very thought-provoking!),of his travels and the people he meets along the way. A lot of wonderful life lessons and a learning experience for all who read this. Wonderful!
"The Walk" is the first book I chose to purchase for my newly aquired Nook. After having read "The Christmas List" by Richard Evans and enjoying it thoroughly, I thought I would give another one of his books a try. From the first page, I found myself lost in the story. I have to admit that when I was younger, I read books constantly, but in my adult life have read very little so for me to pick up a book and not want to put it down, is saying something. The characters in this book are easy to relate to and the author's ability to write in such a way that you feel you are actually there witnessing the events makes this a hard book to put down. After describing it to my wife after only a few chapters, she wanted to read it too..we shared the nook, and finished the book about the same time...we can't wait for the next in the series to be released!
I loved this book. I have read all of Richard Paul Evans books and this is one of my favorites. I can't wait till the next one comes out. I love the main character Alan Christoffersen. It was so touching all the things that he went through and all the people that crossed his path along the way. Richard Paul Evans has a way of putting little passages in his books that really make you think. I highly recommend this book and have passed it on to my family and friends to read.
Don't miss The Walk by Richard Paul Evans. This inspirational story will leave you wanting more and wondering how you will ever wait for the next book in the series. Once you begin the journey you won't want to put it down and when you finish you will want to read it all over again. Make this beautiful book a part of your personal library today, you will be glad you did. The Walk is the story of a man that loses everything that matters to him in life. He is devastated by the loss of his wife and their unborn child and he gives up what little he has left and sets out on a walk in search of hope.
Who hasn't thought of walking away from their life at one time or another? The main character, Alan, does just that after he loses everything, including his wife. His entire world implodes, leaving Alan with almost nothing. It's a heart-wrenching book but it contains a hidden meaning, treasure what you have today, for tomorrow it may be gone, Here today, gone tomorrow. The picturesque descriptions of Alan's travels make his journey a joy but you will ache for the loss that Alan suffers. A beautiful, moving storyline that requires a box of tissues.
My book arrived Thursday. I ordered it long before it became available. Having read all of RPE's books, I must declare this one is the very best yet! I read it cover to cover non-stop. I was hooked from page 1! With every page I can relate, honest! Starting with the love of your life and the perfect job and in a blink it's all gone, now what? God is in charge but first you have to get over yourself and let him in. Ever so slowly Allan lets go and starts to live. I have to say, waiting until NEXT April is agonizing. But wait I will and while I wait, I'll pack for Key West! I'm a mere 70 so what is 5 more years! I'll be there unless the agony of waiting for the next books kills me!!!
So I was anxious to read this book to get a taste of what this series was going to be all about and all I can say is that I am hooked! I am for sure taking this "walk" with Al Christoffersen! I was so touched by their love story and his journey. It reminded me how precious life is and how it can change in just a single event. I was impressed with Richard's clever quotes and diary entries and many of the character's thoughts left me thinking days after I had finished. I love books that do that. After tears and laughter I was left at the end wanting more and I'm so glad that this is a series so I can actually fulfill that hunger for more! :) I highly recommend it to all.
Here is what I love about this book: It is written in first person. The author is talking to ME. Description fantastic ("The water before me is as blue as windshield wiper fluid"), riveting emotion. I was able to accompany the author on his walk and absorb multiple inspiring lessons along the way. Best of all are his diary quotes: "Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it." I cannot wait for the sequel. Everyone should read this book. It will change your life.
I love Richard Paul Evans' books. So, to get this, and start a series by him was exciting, I was eager and ready to start reading. Since I downloaded this from my nook, I didn't realize it was only 161 pages until I was ready to read it. The story started out great, but then the character development just stopped, and it was almost as if he abandoned the character just as he abandoned his readers. The story just stopped, and I thought, wow, did I just download the sample, instead of the whole book. I'm just sorry that didn't read the reviews until it was too late. Not that it's a bad story, it just would have been better at 4.99!
I love the authors' honest approach. It has a message to all those that read this book. Very inspirational. I cried, I laughed, I got angry. That is what I like in a book like this, if the author can get the reader to experience so many different emotions while reading. Very well written, Captures the reader very well.
The Walk is one of the best books I have ever read and is probably the only book that I read in one afternoon. Right from the beginning it caught my attention and I had to keep reading to find out what happened. The book made me cry and laugh. I immediately was drawn to the characters; some I loved, others I disliked. I can not wait for the second book of this serious to come out. Richard Paul Evans is one of my new favorite authors. I am now on a quest to read his other books. I highly recommend that everyone read this book. It is a keeper on my bookshelf.
The Walk is a wonderful escapism book. It's a good size to carry with you when you know you'll have to wait, and one on which you can easily stay focused. It stays in line with all of Richard Paul Evans' books. Captivating, one you don't want to put down, one that will boost your spirit and energize your soul. You can't read this book without taking a good hard look at your own life and then want to take the "Road Less Traveled." The style with which Evans chooses to write this book is unique; you feel like you're reading his diary, getting a peek into his personal thoughts and journaling. You hope Alan will come through your town and eat at your favorite eatery.
I received this book yesterday, opened it and read 2/3 of it before going to bed. I awoke this morning and finished it. I absolutely loved the topic, the character, and the writing style. It is a heartfelt story that I feel anyone interested in life lessons would love. I highly recommend it. Now I will anxiously await book #2 even though it doesn't come out until next year.
This is an inspirational story about a man who loses his wife (to cancer). In all the turmoil of losing the love of his life, he then loses his home as well as the business he started. At that point he then decides to leave it all behind and walk from his present city (Seattle) to Key West Florida, the furthest point from where he presently stands. Its a journey searching for hope, peace and a new beginning. It turns into a life changing journey, both physically and spiritually. His story began from a super rich point but due to his life situation, suddenly was thrust into homelessness, having his car repossessed, and facing an unknown future. It is a very thought provoking story and makes you realize how fragile this life is for us all. Supposedly, there are further stories to be written/continuing The Walk. This story carries him only through the state of Washington. The story was inspirational and very easy to read. Yet, it was the kind of story that hung with you, causing you to wonder how such a situation in one's own life would be addressed! Each of us faces own own walk, our own journey. I can't help but wonder "How would mine compare to his Walk?"
This is great I have read the whole Nicholas sparks seriese and I am trying to find something close to how he writes. Richard Paul evens is as close as can be. This book was amazing any one that likes romantic books needs to read this. I will count down the days till book 2!
I don't write reviews because who am I to criticize but this book is amazing!!! I highly recommend it. This is the first book that I think truely captures what love is really about. Read it, love it. It is worth it. I can not wait for the next book to come out. I am dying to know the rest of this mans journey...
For anyone who has had a loss this is a must read. There are many lessons to be learned in this book.
An advid fan of Richard Paul Evans, I have read all of his books though when I first learned about The Walk I wasn't at all sure I wanted to start a whole series of books. I had a coupon so ordered the book and when it arrived I read it cover to cover in one afternoon. This author has a way of taking you right into the characters and you cannot help but feel a part of their experiences. The main character is unable to stay focused with so many adversities happening to him at once. What would I do in a similar circumstance? This author leads us on a journey that is already making a difference in the way we think of our lives and how our lives compare to the characters in the story. We keep our faith and hope God will take care of everything. Richard Paul Evans has a smooth way of ending this first volume letting us feel satisfied we can wait for the next installment. He knows we will be waiting for his next book; we want to read and experience the rest of this story.
Richard Paul Evans does it again with a wonderful heart touching story. "The Walk" is one man's journey of loss and hope. Set aside a couple of hours for this book, because once you start it you cannot put it down.
This is the first book I read by this author. I will not buy another. Not sure what other people see...but this silly book was a waste of 3-4 hours. There was ZERO character development. I learned little to nothing of any character and, as such, did not care what happened to them either way. No story really developed either.Lastly, if I read one more page of what he had for lunch or dinner I was going to scream. Why do I need to know what he eats every other page? Disappointed.
What a page turner! I have traveled the " less traveled " roads in Washington State. The unusual meals are for real and I can visualize the areas Alan is walking through. Have also read the 2nd journel, Miles To Go. Page turner #2 ! April 2012 cannot come fast enough for Journel #3. My book club did read this and we found the small selections at the beginning of each chapter meaningful and a guide as to his thoughts or the action in the chapter. His short paragraphs say so much and we love how his relationship with his father is changing. Richard Paul Evans" best book !
Sorry but I dont understand or agree with the great reviews. The story is average and I feel ripped off that I paid $10 for a very short story. I must continue to pay for more everytime the guy crosses a state line. By the time he reaches his destination I will have paid almost $100! NO THANKS
I read this book and enjoyed it, but also recognized it as a "shell" of what it could have been - so much wasn't said and was skipped over - this book could've had so much more depth to it, but if the author was satisfied with its message then that's okay . . .it is what it is - it is fiction, after all. I do want to recommend the Peter Jenkins series (WALK ACROSS AMERICA, THE WALK WEST and THE ROAD UNSEEN)which was alluded to in this story - these books are not fiction.