Synopsis: Aron Ralston, a rock / mountain climber, gets trapped in a crevice in Blue John Canyon after a boulder falls on his right arm, pinning him to the canyon wall. For the next 6 1/2 days, Aron must survive with what little food he has left and find a way to escape.
Characters: Aron (Main Character), Kristi (Secondary Character), Meghan (Secondary Character), Aron's co-workers (Secondary characters)
Setting: Moab, Utah
Time: April 26th, 2003 - May 2nd, 2003
Major Conflict (Internal Or External): There are two major conflicts in this book. The first conflict (external) is that Aron's right arm has been trapped by a boulder, and he has to find a way to get out. This brings us to the internal conflict. In the back of his mind, Aron knows that the only way he'll be able to escape is to cut his right arm off, but (obviously) he doesn't want to do it.
Minor Subplots (Internal Or External): There is soft-of a subplot near the end of the book where his co-workers try to figure out where he is (This is an external conflict). If flashbacks count as subplots, then there are several subplots.
Spoiler Alert?: Yes, but I'm pretty sure everybody knows this story. I mean, it shows Aron with his replacement arm on the cover.
Author's Purpose: Aron probably wrote this book to tell people about his experience of being trapped in the canyon.
Tone: In the first third of the story, the tone is much more lighthearted, as these are the events taking place before Aron gets trapped. In the middle of the story, the tone is very serious, as Aron tries to figure out ways to get out. The final of the book has a very desperate tone, as Aron cuts off his arm in desperation to escape.
Author's Craft: Aron's writing tends to alternate between serious and humorous, but both sides are very descriptive and detailed.
Making Connections To Yourself, The World, or another story: I find it oddly easy to compare this book to several Stephen King books. One that comes to mind the most is "Misery" (which is actually one of my favorite Stephen King books), a story about a writer who gets held captive by a crazy fan who won't let him go until he finishes his newest book. In "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" (which in, in my, a far inferior book), Aron is 'held captive' by a boulder that is crushing his arm (similar to how Annie Wilkes crushes Paul Sheldon's kneecaps with a sledgehammer to keep him from escaping).
Quick Review: "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" finds its strengths in descriptive and detailed writing. There are several scenes that wouldn't be nearly as effective without the incredibly detailed writings and descriptions. However, I feel like the book has far too many flashbacks that feel pointless. I get the feeling that if the flashbacks talked about his family, his friends, and other things that are important to him, it may have given off the impression that if he doesn't escape, then these are the things he'll never see again. But most of the flashbacks talk about other near-death experiences he's had, which gives off the impression that the flashbacks are pointless. Overall, I'd probably give this book a...75 out of 100.