An often hilarious modern spin on On The Road
Garrison, a restless college student, puts an often hilarious modern spin on On The Road in this gonzo tribute to young wanderlust and overcoming difficulties through grit, determination, and humor. His parents’ divorce was the start of his quest for adventure and freedom from family conflicts, and he went off in a nomadic search for belonging amid a series of unsatisfying jobs. The comic relief in this cycle of interdependent short essays is ably provided by Garrison’s best pals, Bryan and Shane, and his loyal canine, Hank, as he recounts setting up camp in one place after another throughout the U.S. and Mexico. He collected a motley crew of colorful characters and crises, venturing out into the wilderness but often returning home. His travel bug sent him out solo, “leapfrogging from hostel to hostel and train to train” through country after country; he made it to Turkey before going broke. Some episodes fall flat, but taken as a collection, they pack a zany wallop. In Garrison’s world, enlightenment and sensibility come through besting obstacles and challenges while avoiding failures and disappointment.
– Publisher's Weekly

The writing is excellent
Daniel Garrison’s Drifting in the Push is a loosely organized, fast-paced memoir, tracing the author’s manic, comic adventures on the road less traveled. Dan, the narrator, traces his journey from boyhood to early manhood, in settings from Oregon and Colorado, to Alaska and Mexico. Recurring characters include childhood friends Bryan and Shane, and a dog named Hank. Fate is a character of sorts, since much of what happens to Dan is unplanned and inadvertent. Some of Dan’s misadventures, however, are self-inflicted. One story involves trying to refurbish a $75 dollar a month cabin in the dead of winter. Repairing plumbing becomes a nightmare: “Time didn’t matter in the crawlspace anyway. It was an uncaring black coffin of agony.” What follows, from walls of frozen excrement to setting himself on fire, will have readers slapping foreheads. The writing is excellent. Garrison’s prose is clean, funny, and often touching. It’s difficult to tell how much (if any) of the book is fiction and how much is a memoir. Doesn’t matter—the stories have the authenticity one attributes to real events, and the narrative drive associated with the very best fiction.
– Rabbit Hole Reviews

Full of variety, entertainment, warmth and humour
As a memoir of life lived so far, Drifting in the Push is a real beauty. Well written with an underlying sense of humour, Dan Garrison’s life is one that we can all relate to in one manner or another. He meets his best buddies at an early age, when he commences school – he is quite sure his world as he has thus far known it, has gone completely mad! Bryan is the kid sitting next to him on the floor. Another kid comes up and sits down next to them, stating he doesn’t feel too good. Only minutes later he vomits all over Dan. A lifelong friendship is formed from this time on and is one that will lead the three friends into adventures yet to be discovered and lifestyles which were certainly not planned out as they each travel their own pathways. Each of the chapters making up this journey is wrapped about an incident or two; all are incredibly enjoyable. At times you marvel, at others you also learn a lesson or two, as Dan drifts along, moving from one insight to another, all the while trying to finish his education. When he does he realise that perhaps journalism is not the right career pathway for him, and sets out to discover what is; a journey which was to see him embroiled in some incredibly beautiful, happy, terrifying and downright horrific experiences. Along the way he finds another friend in Hank, his beloved dog, who also somehow manages to find himself in a number of scrapes, not always of his own making! The final chapter sees Dan reflecting on his life, his plans or rather lack of planning; his conclusion was that in spite of everything, he had done all right. He was also to discover that there was more in store for him than he was ever to have considered, which would eventually find him far from the life he had built in Alaska! Throughout the chapters, one thing comes apparent time and time again; that when you are down and out, at your lowest ebb, that if you hold the faith with yourself, keep exploring options and asking about, something always turns up. Then the choice is whether to ‘drift in the push’, and take advantage of what is offered. There is nothing mundane about this work; it is full of variety, entertainment, warmth and humour. By the final page you will discover that you have made a new friend – that of Dan Garrison.
– Blue Wolf Reviews

I was in for a ride
I didn’t have any set expectations when I started reading this book. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but once the book got me hooked, I was in for a ride. Drifting in the Push is Daniel Garrison’s account of how he nearly died in different scenarios from boyhood to adulthood, in short story format. Oh, and there’s a dog! Who lives until the end of this book! And is ADORABLE! Don’t think, even for a minute, that this book is boring. Every story in this book is engrossing. They are chronological stories, starting from Daniel’s childhood. Even as a child, he’s had interesting experiences. I was constantly being amazed by the different states he’s lived in and the different situations he’s been put in. How does one live like that?! I’m a hermit and I hate leaving my house. Reading this book about the author’s wanderings made me very happy, though. I don’t know if it has inspired me to move around a lot, but it definitely introduced me to adventure and trying to seek new experiences in life. And as the blurb promises, the book did bring a tear or thousand to the eye occasionally.
– This is Lit

A memoir that reads more as fiction than reality
This adventurous trek of one young man will inspire readers to go out there and take a chance on their futures. Adventure is just around the corner if you'll only follow it! Going all the way back to his early childhood years, Dan is the kind of person you just want to be friends with. Always eager to lend a hand, hard-working, fun, and a little naive, he's the kind of guy who you'd love to shoot the shit with. Whether it's summer jobs that should have been thought through, horrible living conditions (imagine the worst place you've ever seen, and then double it), partying a little too hard in college, or trying vainly to get the girl, Dan has a story to top yours. Always at his side is his lovable sidekick Hank, part husky, part mutt, all around adorable and central to nearly every story. Together they battle bears, drug dealers, hypothermia, and antifreeze; nothing is insurmountable when they are together. It’s an enjoyable, funny read that will definitely leave you wanting to know how the story continues. I'm eagerly awaiting the follow up!
– Tragically Dull Adventures of an Almost Librarian

What a fun, completely unpredictable read
When I saw the cover, I thought the book must talk a lot about Alaska or snow sports. Well, it does have a fair amount of Alaska (what it was like to live aboard a fishing boat there, the struggle to find work and housing) but the scenery changes often to life in the lower 48. The author tells of childhood, college life, and beyond, in an extremely funny, laugh-out-loud kind of way. There is so much going on in this book that I might pitch it as "Man vs. Wild" meets "The Hangover". Great stuff that you have to read to believe! I'm looking forward to more adventures with Dan and Hank (Dan's lovable dog who was with him through it all) in book two!
– Marie Silk author of the Davenport House Series

Quite fantastical yet honest
A fast-paced look into Dan Garrison’s life left me feeling like if I find something inspiring, go for it. Although from a distance, Dan may seem fearless on all his endeavors, he questioned several of his moves (location-wise and general pursuits) but stuck them out until something else popped up that was a better opportunity or just different. For readers who are more the planners out there and need to know the steps to take for the future, you may be slightly uncomfortable with Dan’s approach to life. I found it refreshing and light-hearted at times in addition to down-to-earth and realistic. I’m envious of his ability to pick-up and leave and know what’s important to him – and not selfishly, since Hank, his dog, he shows so much love and compassion for above all else. Dan’s life is not boring, that’s for sure. He finds himself in several pickles in which I’m amazed that he is able to survive – both as a child and well into his adult life. It also leads me to wonder, how can so much happen to one person?
– The Incessant Bookworm

This memoir is a collection of funny, sometimes kind of insane stories
As Dan grows up, he faces danger, theft, and cross-country moves. His traumatic experiences make for good entertainment, although he probably didn’t see them that way at the time! My favorite stories in Drifting in the Push feature Dan’s adventures in Alaska. After moving to Alaska without a place to live, a job, or any friends except his dog Hank, Dan ends up living in some truly awful homes–the stories he tells of fixing up the old trailer he lived in at one point are horrifying and hilarious. Whether he’s trekking through swampland or nearly freezing to death on the floor, Dan’s adventures are always interesting and sometimes impressive, too.
– Newbery and Beyond

I find it amazing that the author lived to write about his adventures
I would describe Drifting in the Push by Daniel Garrison as a combination of life/travel/coming-of-age memoir. The book contains a collection of stories and experiences from the author’s childhood through to a young adult. Each short story could be read as a stand-alone, but they work nicely as a group and had a natural flow to them. After reading the book, I find it amazing that the author lived to write about his adventures. Anyone else would have succumbed. I am still shaking my head in wonder about how he managed to walk away from his first car adventure. I can honestly say I do not know anyone that has had so many near death experiences. Call it what you like, but Lady Luck and/or his guardian Angel (I am sure it took both) did a first rate job of looking after him. Now that I have finished the book and have had time to reflect on what I read, I have a real appreciation for this young man’s tenacity. Any ordinary person would have given up and gone back home to family. Not Dan, he refused to let things like no running water, no working shower or toilet stop him. He was not only stubborn but creative and resourceful. The author’s candid and vivid descriptions of his escapades made it a quick read. Anybody who likes adventure stories, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, will enjoy Drifting in the Push. As for myself, I am looking forward to the next instalment.
– The Spine View

A five star novel for sure
What a pleasant surprise this book was. It follows the life of Dan, the author, and describes the trials and tribulations he gets himself into. I always like to read a memoir featuring a person who travels off of the beaten path and Mr. Garrison seems to have done that. He describes his adventures in a series of short stories that chronologically take you through his unusual life. This was a pleasure to read. A five star novel for sure.
– Goodreads Review

A book you can pick up and read anytime
It’s a series of autobiographical short stories of the author's life blending into the span of childhood to adulthood. A book you can pick up and read anytime, anywhere...would be a good ‘bathroom book’. Or you can easily read it in one sitting because it is highly entertaining and captivating. If you are feeling down, read of couple of these life recollections and it will surely put a smile on your face. Full of wit, humor, fun, unfortunate/fortunate events, and adventure!
– Kait Fennell author of 251 Things To Do In Tofino

Drifting in the Push   © Daniel Garrison 2016