Two for the Summit: My Daughter, the Mountains, and Me

Geoffrey Norman, Author Dutton Books $22.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-525-94494-2
In this candid, semi-adventure narrative, journalist Norman recounts how pursuing his fascination with mountain climbing allowed him to create a special bond with his teenage daughter, Brooke, and to enhance his understanding of parenthood. Norman initially perceives climbing as a solitary endeavor and his relationship with his daughter as largely detached. Yet when Norman accepts his daughter's wish to accompany him 14,000 feet up the treacherous Grand Teton in Wyoming on his 50th birthday, he lays the ground for transformation. With his reflections on the meaning of manhood, his relationship to women, his role as father and the necessity of being sensitive, Norman certainly embodies characteristics of the post-'60s American male. His masculine idea of sportsmanship, however, is put to the test when Brooke rises to the challenge of rock climbing. Father, suddenly surpassed by daughter, becomes the dependent. But Norman learns to accept the change in his relationship with his daughter and ultimately steps back to admire her. Amidst these tides of change, Norman continues to hone his passion for climbing while trying to understand why climbers risk their lives to reach lofty peaks. He emphasizes the dangers of the sport, the concern and responsibility he feels for his daughter and his admiration for famous victorious climbers, as well as for those who have perished. In his ruminations, Norman concludes that, ""it is risk that makes climbing so ineffably seductive."" This realization, however, seems to fall short, leaving the reader grasping for some more insightful truth about the desire for risk taking. In spite of this flaw, Norman and Brooke's ascent of the Aconcagua in the Andes, one of the highest peaks on the planet at 23,000 feet, provides touching remarks on life, fatherhood and climbing. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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