Book Review: Walking with Sam: A Father, A Son, and Five Hundred Miles Across Spain By Andrew McCarthy (Grand Central Publishing)

By: Jesse Striewski

When I read and reviewed Andrew McCarthy’s 2021 memoir Brat: An ’80s Story, I found things about the actor, author, and former brat-packer that I never knew we shared in common (for starters, we’re both originally from New Jersey). But now after having read his latest printed offering, I realize we’re almost one and the same when it comes to one extremely vital role of adulthood; parenting.

It’s almost uncanny to learn just how many similarities we share as fathers after reading Walking with Sam…, which detailed his walk across the Camino de Santiago in Spain with his still teenaged son (the aforementioned “Sam” in the title). Not only are our respective sons close in age (his is nineteen in the book, while mine is currently seventeen), he also seems to have almost identical struggles, like getting his offspring out the door on time in the morning (which I suppose is fairly universal these days).

Along the path, they learn things about one another, process personal traumas and regrets, and ultimately grow as human beings. It’s a bittersweet journey that McCarthy allows us an intimate look at his inside thoughts, and the dynamic between parent and child and the sometimes difficult decisions we have to make along the way.

Those looking for a walk down ’80s memory lane similar to Brat are not likely going to find much of that here, sans the occasional mention when it pops up as a topic of conversation. Regardless, there’s no shortage here of discovering who McCarthy truly is as a person, which in turn causes one to look further into themselves; that alone is worth taking the journey with him.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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