The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial
eBook review copy; 368 pages
The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial is a highly recommended memoir about the author's adventures and his son.
Roman Dial (Mathematics and Biology professor at Alaska Pacific
University and National Geographic Explorer) embraced real life outdoor
adventures, exploration, and risk taking as a young man and went on to
impart his love for exploration, and endurance to his son, Cody Roman.
Dial recounts his own adventures and goes on to describe the trips on
which he later took Cody, who also went by Roman. Occasionally his wife,
Peggy, and daughter Jazz accompanied them, but Cody Roman became his
father's ongoing partner on adventures.
Later, when Cody Roman was 27, he went on a solo trek, hiking and exploring in Central America. On July 10, 2014 he
walked alone into Corcovado National Park, an untracked rainforest
along Costa Rica’s remote Pacific Coast, and disappeared. Once his
father and mother realized he was missing, Dial went down to Costa Rica
and began the search for his son. It took two years to find out what
happened and the search for closure was plagued with government bureaucrats obstructing the search, false information, and rumors.
Losing a child is one of most difficult experiences a parent can
have, so losing your son and not knowing what happened to him makes a
heart-breaking experience even worse. Certainly Dial blames himself for
encouraging his son to embrace going on adventures and exploring
dangerous areas. Having a reality-TV show spinning a murder theory
about Cody Roman while they were still searching for what happened to
their son took a toll. In the end they find the closure and some sense
of the truth behind what happened.
Dial's love for exploration is evident in his writing, as his love
for his wife and family. The one drawback of this tribute to Cody Roman
is that it begins by telling Roman's own story rather than starting with
Cody Roman's solo trek and disappearance. If this were a biography,
this would make perfect sense to follow a chronological timeline. As a
tribute to Cody Roman, however, it would have been stronger to start
with the disappearance and then back-fill with the history of adventures
and exploring that made Cody Roman confident in setting off by himself.
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.