• Following Atticus

  • Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship
  • By: Tom Ryan
  • Narrated by: Tom Ryan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (710 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaper editor Tom Ryan and a little dog, Atticus M. Finch, are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter. Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home....

Following Atticus is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the world's beauty and its possibilities. An unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family, it's an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self.

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©2011 Tom Ryan (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers

What listeners say about Following Atticus

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A True Story of Personal Transformation

I have never had so many people recommend a book to me as I have had this one. There's a reason. "Following Atticus" is about a middle-aged guy who hikes 4,000 footers in the White Mountains alone with his 20 pound Miniature Schnauzer. I am a middle-aged guy who hikes 4,000 footers in the White Mountains alone with my 20 pound Boston Terrier. Although a lot of people hike with dogs, one hardly ever sees 20 pound dogs on the high trails. In fact, one of the few I've ever seen is Atticus himself, whom I met hiking the Mount Caribou trail.

"Following Atticus" is a testament to truth being better than fiction. Dog lovers will all be captivated by the tale. But it's not a merely a dog book. It's a book of personal transformation on the part of the author. Some of that transformation is physical. You can look up photos of the author on the internet from his pre-Following Atticus days and compare them to recent photos to see this for yourself. Between the weight loss and the exercise, Tom Ryan looks like a different person. From "Following Atticus" we learn how the author became a different person on the inside, too -- a better person -- due to the influence of two great dogs in his life.

The book is read by the author. This adds to the reality of the story and conveys a sense of feeling that one would not get from a professional reader. The author does an excellent job of reading, but the listener should be prepared for a strong Boston accent.

There's a Youtube video trailer for the book, which I recommend for those who would like a glimpse of Atticus and Tom Ryan -- and the other great character of the book -- the White Mountains.

22 people found this helpful

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More Than Just Man/Man's Best Friend!

I was so thrilled with this book! I often get a hankering for a good animal story as usually they're so wonderful and inspirational. Following Atticus did not disappoint!
What I really liked about this book was that yes, it follows Tom and Atticus on their journey, but it also follows Tom as he discovers himself along the way and becomes who he's meant to be. And most of it is because of an adorable little dog, Atticus. (And I really love that one dog started it, Max, a dog that Tom was very leery of taking into his life but who radically changed it and showed him what true love is.)
This book is also about looking at the past, and realizing that people do the best that they can and that they are who they are. And Tom has to figure out how to love and forgive and live with the wounds that coming from a lonely family, living with an abusive and neglectful parent, have caused. Forget about climbing all those peaks, and those are great, but the real work is done in his heart.
I bought the kindle version of this also, and I'm very glad that I did because some of the prose is so lovely, so poetic, the descriptions and imagery are so beautiful and written with such insight that I'm looking forward to reading some passages over again. Truly well done.
This is a touching, wonderful book, well worth the listen, well worth the time. You'll love Atticus, you'll root for Tom. And you'll be tempted to check out their blog. I know, that's cheating, but I really can't wait for the next book!
For more reviews, of all genres, but especially for Pet Day/Month audiobooks, check out AudiobookAccomplice.com

18 people found this helpful

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Amazing Story

Would you listen to Following Atticus again? Why?

Following Atticus is a story about an extraordinary hiking partnership between a schnauzer, Atticus, and his owner, Tom Ryan -- With Atticus, Tom Ryan hikes 48 high peaks, 4000 footers in winter yet, and in doing so discovers what life should be about. This is one book that has a unique storyline! Atticus is the only miniature schnauzer to do the 48 peaks in winter and he attempted to do them twice in the winter which is amazing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Following Atticus?

I really liked that when they both arrived at the top of a peak they would dedicate the peak to someone who had cancer, passed away from cancer or was fighting cancer. Whenever they arrived at the top of a peak, Atticus, being unique, would also sit quietly and look at the view.

What about Tom Ryan???s performance did you like?

Tom's performance was easy to listen too and I enjoyed that he, the author, was the one telling the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Tom rescued

Any additional comments?

Even if my review is not the best since I have never really written one of these and I don't want to give too much of the story away, you should buy this book. You won't regret it if you love hiking, mountains, dogs and if you hate the rat race we all live in. Possibly it will inspire you to escape that race and take a chance to find what and who you really are.

10 people found this helpful

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So Much More Than Just Another Dog Story!

I had this book in my Wish List for a long while but figured it was just another dog story. However, after a few recent audio disappointments, I felt I needed to try something I had a better chance of enjoying.

This book starts out a bit unexpectedly with the author setting the stage, that is, describing his surroundings and who he is. In actuality, he is really the star of the book and in my eyes, he somewhat eclipses his beloved little dog, Atticus. No problem, it works beautifully.

I love hiking stories, have read many about the Appalachian Trail, and I also (usually) love books about special dogs. I also favor books that move me emotionally. This book by Tom Ryan has it all. I finished it in two days.

Let me reiterate. This is not just a dog story. It is the story of a man who was put on the right road of life thanks to his love of a special little dog. Sure, there is a bit of anthropomorphism here, but it should be acceptable and understandable by anyone who has truly loved an animal. As the book progressed and I came to understand what it really was, I realized what a beautiful and moving story I had chosen. I laughed and cried, but not for the typical reason you may suspect given the nature of the story.

Tom Ryan narrated his own story and it worked for me.

Very highly recommended!

9 people found this helpful

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The Little Dog (and the Big Man) That Could!

As a NH resident and hiker, I've known about this book for awhile. I decided to download it because of its local interest, though I confess I had low expectations. I was surprisingly pleased. It is a fabulous book! While the book is, in part, like most "pet books" (a genre I usually avoid), it is also a book about a lost man who finds himself though the care and caring of one amazing animal. It is also about the power of community--how people come together to help, whether it is his readers in Newburyport MA, the hiking community, or Atticus-lovers from around the country. The author also writes much of his troubled relationship with his father and how, in his quest with Atticus, he comes to grips with his dad, and realizes that so much of what is important in his life he got from his father. The book is read by the author--and generally he does a good job. There are a few places where his Boston accent comes through pretty heavy, but, in my opinion, it lends to the story. Again, as a local author, his success with his book has been a news item in NH. My understanding is that it is in the Top 10 for New England Independent Book Publishers and has been selected for the local One Book/One Valley community read. If you liked "Marlie and Me," you will love "Following Atticus."

6 people found this helpful

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  • AB
  • 09-29-17

unbelievably good!!

This fascinating story made me cry more than I would have liked, but it's been sincerely uplifting. I want so much more !!

1 person found this helpful

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A remarkable story

This is a remarkable story. I'm a fan of Tom's "Following Atticus" blog, and loved getting the backstory to his adventures with Samwise: first with Max, then Atticus. I wish a professional had read Tom's words. Sometimes I felt Tom was too much into remembering the events to do the telling justice. Even so, I recommend the book for the great story, the honesty of Tom's storytelling, and the beauty of his written word.

1 person found this helpful

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Best man and dog story. Ever.

Lucky guy and lucky dog for finding each other. Such perfect words to describe their life, their love and their respect for all. Now I want to go out and get a little dog and hike.

3 people found this helpful

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This will inspire you just to go outside

Would you listen to Following Atticus again? Why?

Perhaps, in a few years. But I saw on the author's Facebook Page that he is working on a second book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The story is about Atticus and you of course fall in love with Atticus, but the character I most enjoyed was Tom. It was, after all, his thoughts and insights that he confesses.

Have you listened to any of Tom Ryan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes -- Driving on a freeway to work I nearly went blurry-eyed with tears at one particular moment. My mother, who read it first, assured me that it would be ok.

Any additional comments?

Beautiful story. It's really special that the author is also the narrator. I would encourage anyone listening to it to seek out the Facebook Page or other photos (apparently photos accompany the book but since I listened to it, I didn't know that until afterwards).

3 people found this helpful

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What a wonderful friendship between man and dog!

What did you love best about Following Atticus?

The friendship and respect between a man and his dog.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Atticus.....I had a schnauzer and could relate with his stubborness, but also with the love he shown to his owner.

What does Tom Ryan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I read the book, and after I recently lost my beloved Schnauzer, I went back and purchased the audable. Tom Ryan brought Atticus to life in the book...it was just what I needed to get through my loss.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes....and practically did!

Any additional comments?

I absolutely would recommend this book to all!

1 person found this helpful