THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE
Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age
Publisher: River Grove Books
Date of Publication: February 29, 2015
Number of Pages: 220
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Hunter’s friend Ty survived war in the Middle East only to succumb to cancer at home. On a quest with his college buddies and Ty’s father, Hunter journeys from South Texas into the mountains and desert of West Texas to bury his close friend. During this trek, they’ll drink, hunt, party, and encounter unexpected people and enthralling landscapes as Hunter deals with his grief, compounded by his struggle with depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder.
The West Texas Pilgrimage is a love letter to West Texas and the wild culture that defines it. Author M. M. Wolthoff vividly depicts the regional landscape, exploring intriguing stops along the way and the authentic context of music, food, and language integral to this generation of Texans, while frankly and thoughtfully addressing relationships, mourning, and mental illness, with characters as unforgettable as the region itself.
PRAISE FOR THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE:
I laughed. I cried. This is a book that is real, honest and reminds all of us that life is filled with ups and downs. The only way to keep moving forward is to get real with ourselves about whom we are and accept our beauty and our pain. This young author has amazing wisdom that is so articulately shared with readers of all ages.
— 5 Stars, Amazon Verified Purchase
The West Texas Pilgrimage was insightful into the mind of a privileged, pre-adult male who tries to self-medicate his OCD condition with alcohol. While reading, I felt the main character’s vulnerabilities as he struggled with his feelings regarding his career choice, the loss of a good friend to cancer, and the complications of his search for the right female life mate. The book was a quick read…only because I could not put it down! There were several “ah-ha” moments when I thought: oh my, that’s really how a pre-adult male thinks??!? I never knew!!
— 5 Stars Donna J Millon
I read the first half of the book in one night; it draws you in with believable characters and real challenges they face. Could have been written about people you know or have met. It covers some tough topics but is an enjoyable read. — 5 Stars Peter Day
Really nice read. Very detailed description of so many things made me feel like I was right there with them. 2 nights to read for a non reader like me makes for a really easy and entertaining time. Thumbs up.
— 5 Stars Nunya
The book brought me right back to the border towns of my youth. Step outside any bar and be hit with the smell of fajita and sewer. Glorious! — 5 Stars Amazon Verified Purchase
M.M. Wolthoff’s Guide to Books & Booze
By Matt Wolthoff
First posted 4/11/16 on The Next Best Book Blog
WARNING: This book is not for the faint of Liver. Perhaps I should have included this disclaimer in the epigraph of The West Texas Pilgrimage. I recently received a less-than-positive book review in which the reviewer commented that she didn’t like the characters because all they seem to do is drink and objectify women. While I respect her level of disgust with my characters’ behaviors, I question what planet she lived on when she was in her early twenties. Wherever it was, I can assure you it was nowhere near the one I inhabited.
It is true that there is a lot of drinking in The West Texas Pilgrimage. Part of it is the way that the main character, Hunter, attempts to deal with the constant self doubt and repetitive negative thoughts brought on by his chronic depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. While maybe not the best thing for us health wise, nor particularly effective, I think most of us can relate to the occasional self medicating for stress, disappointment, insecurity, or other common ailments.
There is no question that we Texans like our booze. There is a streak in many Texans that stems from the wild origins of the state. Beer drinking is more or less, mas or menos if you live south of San Antonio, a recognized state past time. If you’ve ever floated down the Guadalupe or attended a live music show at Floore’s Country Store, God bless the staff that have to pick up all of the beer cans and bottles littering the dance floor, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The West Texas Pilgrimage drink list
(in order of consumption):
Cuba Libre: Bacardi white rum, Coca Cola, and lime.
A favorite of south Texans and always a good coastal drink, Hunter likes to drink “Cubas” during the day in a deer blind.
Coors Beer: no explanation needed.
Rumor has it that the name “Silver Bullet” originated in a bar on the south side of San Antonio. Taste the Rockies and make sure those mountains are blue! The original variety, commonly referred to as the “Yellow Belly,” is a favorite out west.
Scotch Whiskey: single malt fifteen year old Glenlivet.
What would a good Texas drinking story be without whiskey? Cinco White prefers the single malt variety served on the rocks or with no more than a splash of water.
Bloody Mary: Vodka, Clamato Juice, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, lime, and pepper. Substitute V8 for the Clamato, and you have all of your essential vitamins for breakfast and a hangover cure.
Lone Star Beer: Originally brewed in San Antonio in 1884, this is the National Beer of Texas.
Modelo Especial Cerveza: First bottled in 1925 and brewed in Mexico City, it is this author’s opinion that it beats the pants off of Corona.
Val Verde Winery: Based in Del Rio, this vineyard’s claim to fame is that it is the oldest continuously running winery in Texas. Prohibition be damned, they stayed open! They offer several types of wine, but their port is what is truly special.
Ma Crosby’s Margaritas: This Acuna Mexico border town icon was immortalized in George Strait’s “Blame it on Mexico.”
The Starlight Theatre Margaritas: They have no less than eight recipes for margaritas at the Starlight in Terlingua. Whether you order the Scorpion or the Prickly Pear’ita, you will not be disappointed.
2004 Silver Oak Cabernet: This Napa Valley produced cab is on the menu at the 12 Gage Restaurant at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas. You can pair a bottle with the stuffed quail, a ribeye, or an unbelievable chicken fried steak with roasted jalapeno cream gravy for a five star dining experience in the middle of nowhere West Texas.
Top Shelf Tequila Shots: Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia or Don Julio 1942
The characters end up in the White Buffalo Bar in the Gage Hotel and order a round of top shelf tequila shots. While not specific in the book, the two mentioned above happen to be my favorite.
Matthew Martin Wolthoff lives in McAllen, Texas, with his wife, Lucy Ann, and three children, Hunter Ann, McCoy Martin, and Kerr Dunkin. He grew up in a military family, living all over the world until finding home in South Texas, where he went to high school in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His parents instilled a passion for reading and writing in him early in life that grows stronger every day. An avid outdoorsman, he finds his inspiration—and peace of mind—in the shallow waters of the Lower Laguna Madre and the wilderness of the South Texas brush country. His first West Texas pilgrimage was in 2010. It was a life-changing event.
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