Book Review: 50 Days in May

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50 Days in May: Reflections Along the Camino de Santiago

by Shoshana D. Kerewsky
Lockweed Press, 2024
169 pages
on Goodreads

Reviewed by Allison Venuto | Dallas, TX

50 Days in May book review, with book cover.

Shoshana D. Kerewsky’s 50 Days in May: Reflections Along the Camino de Santiago pulls the reader in with its intriguing title. Encapsulated in this ethereal world of May are vignettes that bring the reader deeper and deeper into the author’s internal Camino. Kerewsky’s deliberate vocabulary and openness expertly unveils her Camino experiences, both in Spain and at home. 

The importance of the role of Camino in Kerewsky’s life overflows from the pages. Questioning, the author explores, “Is travel home?” as she “meditate[s] on impermanence and motion” in their various forms in her life. While the book differs from the traditional Camino memoir in that it does not adhere to a stage-by-stage format, Kerewsky’s writing mirrors the transitions many pilgrims feel while walking. Losing a sense of time, the reader, much like the pilgrim, moves from elation and meditation to grief and questions as the author brings forth these juxtapositions through her use of prose and poetry. Pilgrims both new and experienced will relish the familiar flood of emotions and memories one experiences while walking.

Kerewsky speaks of the peace of being away from home and the longing for home. Not to stay solely with emotions, the author includes astute observations of nature—the flora and the fauna, including the human kind. Numerous references to birds creates for the reader a sense of flitting in and out of the Camino experience with Kerewsky because the Camino remains with the pilgrim long after their beloved arrival in Santiago.

Acknowledging that both the pilgrim and the Camino change over time, Kerewksy’s knowledge of and struggle with the history of religious strife in Spain adds richness to her work. Setting the memoir apart from others, Kerewsky speaks of how her Jewish faith informs her Camino experiences. 

As the author holds on to the complexity of the Camino and listens, the reader feels compelled to read more. Kerewsky mentions a desire to walk from her home in Bellingham, WA, to next year’s International Gathering of Pilgrims in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and readers will be richer for any art Kerewsky generates out of that journey.

Editor’s note: Find a review of Shoshana D. Kerewsky’s previous Camino memoir, Cancer, Kintsugi, Camino: A Memoir (Lockweed Press, 2022), in the Autumn 2022 issue of La Concha.

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