Review: WALK by Jonathon Stalls

My DNF review of queer nonfiction book WALK is a tiny bit rant-y.

Quick Info

  • Title: WALK
  • Series: standalone
  • Author: Jonathon Stalls
  • Release Date: 16.08.2022
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • Content Warnings: suicide attempts, racism maybe more
  • Diversity: POC, Mental Health, Disabilities, maybe more
  • Rating: DNF 27%


A transformative collection of essays on the power of walking to connect with ourselves, each other, and nature itself.

In 2010, Jonathon Stalls and his blue-heeler husky mix began their 242-day walk across the United States, depending upon each other and the kindness of strangers along the way. In this collection of essays, Stalls explores walking as waking up: how a cross-country journey through the family farms of West Virginia, the deep freedom of Nevada’s High desert, and everywhere in between unlocked connections to his deepest aches and dreams–and opened new avenues for renewal, connection, and change.

While most of us won’t walk or roll across the country, the deep wisdom and insights that Stalls receives from the people, land, and animals he meets on his pilgrimage have profound impacts for each of us. He shares how walking deepened his relationship to himself as a gay man, offering deep and clarifying emotional medicine. He confronts the systemic racism, classism, and ableism that shape and reshape the communities he walks through. And he invites readers to become awakened activists, to begin healing our culture’s profound separation from the natural world.

WALK is for those who crave to feel and embody, not just know and study, their way through complex themes that live in each chapter: vulnerability, human dignity, presence, mystery, and resistance. With dedicated practices–like connecting to Earth stewardship, moving into vulnerability, and walking and rolling with intention–Stalls’ WALK is an urgent and glorious call to slow down, look around, and engage with the world in front of us. It awakens us to what we miss when we’re driving by, flying over, and rushing past what surrounds us. It’s an invitation to move, to connect, to participate deeply in the world–and to dissolve the barriers that disconnect us from each other and the living Earth.

The Queer’s Review

I was hopeful when I picked up this book because the author states his many privileges and acknowledges that the experiences of different people will be different when they walk or roll.

And I really tried. I really, really tried because I wanted to dive into WALK and enjoy it. But I couldn’t make myself enjoy it. At best I was bored, at worst I was rolling my eyes.

The memories wildly jump around in time, so I never knew where exactly we are, pre-walking time? When exactly? Oh, we are walking, okay. At times I also didn’t know who was recounting their memories, so more often than not I was trying to understand logistics instead of losing myself in the flow of words. And then there are the jumps between present tense and past tense even though it’s one situation that is talked about.

The author is reassuring people that if they “identify as white, this isn’t a personal attack.” (kindle pos. 413) and I’m… I don’t know where to start. I really, really don’t know where to start.

Overall, WALK left a bitter taste in my mouth even though the book doesn’t even manage to show the story. It tells and tells and tells. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to paint my own picture of the situations or analyze interactions. And I don’t know. Everything just felt so… forced. People immediately open up to a fucking stranger.

Everyone is just sooooo inspired. I might have vomited a little bit in my mouth. WALK might be authentic, but to me, it just doesn’t feel that way. At all. It rather felt… missionary and preachy, with a touch of… maybe snootiness?

I didn’t want to read it during my lunch break, so I put it aside and then never picked it up again. So I don’t know if it gets better or worse. And honestly? I don’t care.

Bookish Thoughts

“I was overwhelmed with love and understanding for this grandmother, for the family, and for Jasen.”

Kindle pos. 621


I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Similiar Books to WALK

I didn’t enjoy Jonathon Stalls’ Walk, but I have read and reviewed a queer biography called River Queens by Alexander Watson which I very much enjoyed.

I know less than nothing about boats and I enjoyed River Queens very much. So if you’re a lover of boats you may be blown away by this book.

The Queer Bookish, review of River Queens by Alexander Watson

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