The Long, Steep Path: Everyday Inspiration from the Author of Pay It Forward is Catherine Ryan Hyde’s long-awaited memoir (I’ve been waiting for it for almost a decade, so I assume others have as well).
As someone who has been at the last scraps of a tether (literally having to choose between drugs or food, and knowing she shortly wouldn’t have either) to becoming an international icon who inspired the Pay It Forward movement, Ryan Hyde has seen it, been there, worn the T-shirt, traveled the hike and lived to tell its tale. I adore her frequent metaphors relating to hiking experience, as some of my own hard times have felt like marathons and I just had to focus on the step at hand, and on that one more step forward.
Ryan Hyde’s latest offering is true to her style — honest, insightful, and shared from a place that is earthy and sometimes gritty, but quite beautiful in its simplicity and scope. To appreciate its conversational tone, readers will need to know something about Ryan Hyde — from someone that has known her personally, as I have — and that is: what you see, is what you get, always. Her memoir is refreshingly “real,” though those not familiar with her style may balk at the way things flow at first (for instance, she will ask rhetorical questions like “Is it so much to ask?” and then answer them “I don’t think so”, which makes me smile but may annoy other readers.) Embracing the spirit of her style is well worth it, because her writing is brilliant, if understated.
Ryan Hyde balances things like “let people help you” then “seek time alone” and asking more of oneself and knowing when to back down. Life is fluid, and she captures its complexity and its heart perfectly.