The Mountain Between Us is “a page turning story of love and survival,” as the front cover says. “Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us,” the cover goes on to say. I believe that this book is both appropriate for and suitable as 4U audience class-room reading material. Thematically, the book does well to show the power of love in the midst of struggle. Despite describing in great detail the adventure of a lifetime, this novel does well to prove true love exists. I also believe that through analyzing this novel through a psychoanalytic lens and the reader response theory, this novel has many redeeming qualities for which it should be recognized. However, among the redeeming qualities, there are graphic descriptions that are not desirable for a 4U audience as a whole; for some people, the descriptions may be too realistic.
The novel commences with a prelude of a man, who we find out later is Dr. Ben Payne, talking to someone about what is happening. This conversation begins the adventure of a lifetime. Ashley Knox and Dr. Ben Payne are both stranded in an airport eager to return to their homes.
When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness-- one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States (Charles Martin, front cover).
The novel goes on to describe the adventure that unfolds from this tragedy. Ben struggles with his broken ribs in assisting Ashley, who has suffered a fracture to her leg. Ben is a doctor and an avid mountain-climber, so he becomes prepared to face the journey ahead of them to survive in the mountains. In the midst of their striving to survive, Ashley and Ben learn about the emotional baggage they both carry. “Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. [Ben] explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long-standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair” (Charles Martin, back cover). Throughout the novel, Ashley learns what true love is; when she hears Ben speaking his tender words to his estranged wife, she begins to understand that she is just settling when it comes to her own love story. The adventure these two strangers took part in changed their lives forever and allowed them to realize the power of love; the gift of love.
Finding out what love is, is a theme this novel looks at. This novel can be evaluated through the...