“Mountaintops give vision to life but cannot sustain it.”
Roger W. Thompson’s We Stood Upon Stars is on the surface a sweeping array of travel memoirs in essay form. But woven throughout the collection are strands of self-discovery, discovering God, familial ties, and the experiences that define and shape Thompson–and all of us.
Rooted in camping, fishing, and outdoor adventuring experiences, Stars is packed with beautiful descriptions of creation, from famous sites like Old Faithful to quiet, secret fishing holes. In Thompson’s rich language, beautiful scenes unfold before the reader — vistas and mountains, oceans and lakes, small towns and isolated plains. You truly can see each place he visits through his detailed prose.
Woven throughout are Thompson’s thoughts on masculinity, at times toxic, and his desire to see his sons become men. As a female reader, I didn’t always connect–and at times disagreed–with this strand of the book. However, I appreciated Thompson’s recognition that his ideas about masculinity and manhood are often twisted, and that the core of what he wants to teach his sons is reliability, presence, and curiosity.
Stars is quietly religious as we share in some beautiful moments of Thompson’s life as he encounters God out in creation. As a reader who also seeks the wildness and openness of the outdoors as a way to encounter God, I connected with this element of Thompson’s essays.
More than merely a travel memoir, Stars is a beautiful collection accounting the ways in which the places we go, and the experiences we have there, become who we are.
**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.