"If you like a leisurely travel book with sudden detours
and crazy tangents, Bennett Voyles and family make good company on the road to Santiago. Voyles’ research is wide and his footnotes deep and delightful, with meditations on everything from saints to bedbugs, and fleeting,
indelible images of the pilgrims’ progress.
I give it five scallop shells."
- Mary Norris
Author of Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, and
Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
Former copy editor at The New Yorker
Good Tidings about Onward, Backward...
"It’s lovely…it gives us history, it gives us memoir, it gives us travel writing."
"Equal parts rough travel guide and memoir of one expat family's best/worst summer vacation ever, this charming,
wryly humorous ramble through southwestern
France and Spain is as packed with
arcane-yet-riveting medieval lore as
Foucault's Pendulum. Voyles' boundless
curiosity and keen eye for cultural difference
make hima delightful traveling companion
on a journey that will resonate with Americans abroad and parents of teenagers. It made me feel like I'd walked the pilgrims' path myself, but without the blisters and sunstroke."
- Jordan Mechner
Creator of Prince of Persia and author of Year 1 in France.
"What a vicarious treat to travel the Camino de Santiago with Bennett Voyles and his family. The next best thing to being there, he brings alive the countryside, the people, the food, and the blisters – all with great good humor. Along the way, he adds in fascinating history, made even more enjoyable with his wry commentary. This journey reminded me of adventures with my family, and
I can't wait to share this book with my sisters."
- Maria Burton
Actor, Director, Producer
Five Sisters Productions
“ "I read Onward, Backward with so much joy and laughter. Bennett Voyles's travel memoir Onward, Backward! joins the other great memories of the Camino de Santiago oeuvre -but from an entirely different point of view: with his wife and his three daughters in tow. They travel by both foot and by bike all the way from Le Puy en Velay in France to Santiago de Compostelle in Spain. Like all good Camino journeys, Voyles starts his with the crazy idea that he and his wife Cybèle had to take their girls on this epic journey... only things is, that “epic journey” happens to coincide when they are all teenagers, and Parisian teenagers at that!
"Bennett Voyles is an engaging, quirky storyteller and a fantastic wrangler of teenagers in this formidable, enviable tale of a long family journey through France and Spain. When we're all looking back on our lives decades from now, we'll wish we had created such memories for our families. What an accomplishment, in living through it so successfully, and writing about it so well!"
author of Rise Wildly, Abloom & Awry, Precise and The Gospel of Galore, and co-author of Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope.
It adds a delightful twist to the storytelling. It could also be classified as a “Family Adventure Book” - how to just trust your instincts with your kids in dragging them on a 700km+ journey…
I especially love all his descriptions of the history along the route, which there is “beaucoup”! For me as a professional guide, his book will be invaluable, and for the person considering walking or biking the Camino it is a must read. It is a great introduction to the reality and the joys of the Chemin/Camino/path - one where there is always equal parts joy, hurt feet, smelly pilgrims, great encounters with locals and equally good and bad food - but always arriving in Santiago with a happy heart.
A highly recommended read for anyone considering the Camino – or any other grand adventure – with their kids.”
- Sally Bentley
Producer of “Walking the Camino; Six Ways to Santiago” Documentary & Camino Guide with Spanish Steps Tours based in Asturias, Spain.