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Paddle for a Purpose - Book Review

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Paddle for a Purpose

Author: Barb Geiger
Genre: Non Fiction - Memoir
Publisher: Electio Publishing
Date Published: April 3, 2018
ISBN-10: 1632134888
ISBN-13: 9781632134882

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GoodReads Rating:
4.25

Book Review of :  Paddle for a Purpose



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What sane fifty-year-olds would dare a Tom Sawyer-like float trip from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico? Barb and Gene Geiger, not only achieved a five-month river trip in a tandem kayak but survived for Barb to write a memoir, “Paddle for a Purpose.” With planning, much prayer and perseverance, the couple’s trip is an inspiration and a challenge. Gene called their kayak odyssey, “God’s trip.”

Not only did the adventurous couple build their kayak, named Donna, and embark on their adventure, but they volunteered with over two dozen charities in the small towns they encountered on the shores of the Mighty Mississippi. When asked how they helped the variety of organizations, Barb replies, “We just breeze in, help for a day or so, and then we’re on our way. I suppose the way we help most is by writing about what these organizations do and putting links to their websites on our blog.” Their faith in God and earnestness to put “feet to faith” makes this adventure travel log unique.

Armchair travelers can easily visualize the day to day challenges faced by these river rats who tent camp carrying all necessities on board the kayak. From a dunking at departure to ripping the bottom out of the kayak on hidden rocks, the reader can see white beaches backed by magnificent forests, smell the rotting mulched mud on the river banks, feel the fear of alligators and snakes, hear the warning horns of fog-shrouded barge trains, and feel icy water dripping onto bare legs and the sun burning exposed skin while sweat drips.

The author’s ability to share her intimate impressions is mesmerizing. Preparing for a riverside snack, Barb takes a squirt of anti-bacterial spray and notes,…Here we were, out in nature, skipping showers for days, dipping our hands in the Mississippi, and peeing behind bushes. I supposed every bit of hygiene helped.” They learn how to handle unexpected medical emergencies like an aching tooth. How do you resolve that kind of a dilemma in today’s world where an appointment takes weeks and dentist who takes walk-ins are as scarce as $1000 bills? However, for Barb and Gene the impossible happened and a town resident "river angel" provided the name and phone number of a trusted dentist who would save the day.

Much more than a diary, this memoir documents the daily trials, exciting adventures and often hilarious mishaps that the couple faced. Near the end of their trip, the couple’s love for one another and personalities shine as Gene says, ‘We survived for five months together in a divorce boat!”
“That’s probably some kind of Guinness record,” Barb responds.

The couple is blessed by the many “river angels” they meet. While their intentions were to assist charities with manual labor and whatever tasks were asked of them, they discovered many strangers who blessed them with meals, lodging, and friendship. Paddle for a Purpose is a testament that good exists in today’s complicated world. The book serves as an inspiration for others to pursue their dreams with faith and perseverance.

Paddle for a Purpose captures the old-fashioned spirit of pioneer explorers and marries it with a modern sense of today’s world. It boasts of stunning descriptions of the Mississippi River’s natural beauty and a yearning to get back to basics, to imagine and dare to live a dream bolstered with little more than faith and a stretch of audacity.


Reviewed by: Carole W

About Barb Geiger


During her teaching career, Barb Geiger spent every day surrounded by young children and good books. Now retired, her extra time is spent volunteering in the community and pursuing her own dream of writing. Barb has studied with AllWriters� Workplace & Workshop since 2011. Paddle for a Purpose is her first book. She lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with her husband, Gene, and their chinchilla, Raji.




Visit https://www.paddleforapurpose.net for more information on Barb Geiger


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