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Summary

"A thrilling, coming-of-age journey that will make you yearn to go on your own adventures.” (Runner's World)

Anna was never anything like those "real" runners on telly - all spindly limbs, tiny shorts, and split times - but when she read about New Zealand’s 3,000-kilometer-long Te Araroa Trail, she began to wonder...perhaps being a "real" runner was overrated. Maybe she could just run it anyway? 

Travelling alone through New Zealand’s backcountry for 148 days, she scrambled through forests, along ridgelines, over mountain passes, along beaches, and across swollen rivers. Running up to 52 kilometers in a day, she slept wild most nights and was taken into the homes and hearts of the Kiwi people in between. 

The Pants of Perspective is a witty, colorful, and at times painfully raw account of a journey to the edge of what a woman believes herself to be capable of. It is a coming-of-age story that will lead you on a roller-coaster ride through fear, vulnerability, courage, and failure. 

For anyone who has ever dreamt of taking on a great challenge but felt too afraid to begin - this story is for you.

©2017 Anna McNuff (P)2018 Anna McNuff

Critic reviews

"Beaming with limitless ambition, positivity and enthusiasm." (Women’s Running)

What listeners say about The Pants of Perspective

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High octane guff with a dangerous message

I admit I’m only about a third of the way through, so I’m hoping the key messages change by the end. If the writer is as badly prepared for her long distance wilderness run as she (repeatedly) tells us then surely she will be a lot wiser by the end. Now I don’t mind a bit of feel-good story polish but so far I’ve leant:
1. It’s fine to set out into the wilderness badly prepared.
2. Maybe don’t bother researching the trail you are doing, cos hey, that’s just amusing ditziness and not at all dangerous to you or others
3. Don’t take a GPS, because you not liking the way they ‘look at you funny’ is more important than not getting lost and putting others at risk when they try to find you. Ditto, help your folks back home feel you will be a bit safer if you get lost.
4. It’s fine to start out on something this strenuous and isolated without fully training with all your gear
5. In fact it’s fine to set out when you are injured because - presumably- positive thinking will help you. Putting people at risk to find you because you didn’t listen to your body is, again, fine.

So, the story. A lot of over the top ‘hey awesome’ and very little content or reflection. The descriptions of the landscape sound like they were added by another hand. Maybe they were and the author’s strength is running, not writing. But the disjunct is jarring at times.

I kind of wish I hadn’t paid money to encourage more of this.

6 people found this helpful

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Absolutely fabulous adventure

Anna McNuff is a legend! She’s got more enthusiasm in her little toe then I have in my whole body and it’s infectious. You can’t help get drawn in and invested in her journey (both the physical one and the emotional one). Please, please do yourself a favour and buy this book or the audio book read by Anna herself (or both, hey just buy both!!)

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A glimpse into the sort of adventure most of us just dream about!

I really enjoyed Anna’s book. She has accompanied me on my daily commute for the last few weeks and I’ve enjoyed it so much. Thanks, Anna. Looking forward to your next expedition!

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Adventure envy

I am currently running 12 half marathons one every month to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Before December my long runs were 5 or 6 miles so its been a huge leap physically and mentally. Alongside my physical training I have been immersing myself in others adventures and challenges for inspiration. Anna's books stand out for the additional humour as well as the adventure. Rather than dry science you can get in some overly serious challenge undertakers she makes you want to be more resilient with her approach to adversity and her enjoyment of the adventure. Time on the treadmill or roads, definitely goes more quickly and you feel like you are on the adventure as she paints a great picture of the people and terrain.

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Lovely

This book was lovely and Anna's narration made everything so much more personal. Totally recommend it

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Awesome listen!

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in running/ adventures/ challenges.
Read by Anna herself and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Anna in person it’s great to hear her reading this.
I have been listening to this whilst running and now I’ve finished it I’m eagerly awaiting the next instalment once completed the Barefoot Britain challenge! Go Anna - enjoy your adventures and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

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Amazing, inspiring, down-right brilliant!

Absolutely LOVED this book! Anna reads aloud in a very animated and enthralling way - love the accents! This book has everything - even a love story!! An inspiring read and just loved listening to it on my commute - don't know what to do now that I've finished it!!

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Great story about a great adventure.

Excellent storytelling. Inspiring and funny. I still need to write five more words now though.

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Anna feels like a friend

Listening to Anna tell her story about running across New Zealand is like listening to a close friend talk about her adventures. Her story is told with enthusiasm, joy and authenticity- her warmth is tangible. She makes adventure and challenge seem like a possibility within reach without shying away from the hard parts- I certainly feel inspired!

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very inspirational

very inspirational... made me excited to get back into running and see how far I can push myself

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-22

Upbeat, good energy, good vibes - 4/5

I’m from New Zealand and I like running. So I expected to like this book. For the most part, I thought it was really enjoyable. It’s a light-hearted read which left me feeling good about my home and my people. The author did a really good job of narrating with tons of energy and enthusiasm too.

All of that being said, I was hoping for more trail/running talk and less focus on the author’s long-distance ‘does he love me?’ narrative. Also, the pronunciation of some Māori place names did my head in a little bit (but that won’t affect most listeners) though I accept that it’s a foreign language to the author.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book and I’d recommend to others interested in a light-hearted read/listen about New Zealand. You definitely do not need to be a running fan to enjoy this book.

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  • Kim
  • 09-12-18

I loved this book

The author reads the book with such enthusiasm and energy I couldn't stop listening. If you liked North by Scott Jurek you will like this even more.

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  • Ash
  • 08-02-22

Wonderful Narration

Great read! Anna does a wonderful job narrating the story allowing listeners to jog along with her. I highly recommend this book and would read other books by this author.

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  • taranonymous
  • 16-09-21

Makes me miss NZ all over again

This was fun. I've read and listened to a lot of ultra running and long distance cycling books, and this is one of the better ones. My only complaint (and I feel bad even saying it) is her shouting during the narration when she is quoting a shout. It is painful on the ears. But otherwise, her narration is upbeat and fun. The book gets better partway through when she gets more real about the challenges and struggles and isn't as pollyanna. Lots of great characters met along the way.

I happened to be traveling in NZ in late 2019 and saw the book (and the pants!) for sale a few times, but only just got around to listening. I wish I'd listened while I was there - it makes me want to go back and do a lot more hiking. :)

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  • Laura
  • 05-05-21

Funny and inspirational

Wow! A great story and amazing narrating.
Anna has a way of bringing you along on her journey with honesty, humor and descriptive recollection of events. You do not have to be an adventurer or runner to enjoy this book! It’s really a wonderful story of enjoying the highs in life and pushing through the lows. You won't be disappointed!

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  • tcbscott
  • 29-07-20

What a great listen!

I hadn't heard of Anna before listening to her other book on pedaling through all 50 states, which was great! Then I wanted to hear more, and was happy to see she had another book on Audible.

She's very enthusiastic and I love a good adventure read with all it's pitfalls and pleasures. Plus when the adventures happen in a country that I don't know as much about, like New Zealand, all the better.

Highly recommended.

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  • CFr
  • 14-03-20

FANTASTIC performance

You will LOVE Anna. Her reading makes this good story great. Good story for runners or people with an interest in NZ.

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  • Diana J
  • 20-05-22

An Awesome Listen!

Memoirs are just better when the author reads them. This book is proof of that fact. I ADORE Anna’s narration and am thankful that I didn’t just “read” the book as I would have missed so much!

This book helped inspire my running (if you’re into that sort of thing😉).

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  • Virginia Jensen
  • 15-05-22

Breathtaking and utterly charming

I loved this book. At times I felt like I was running right alongside of Anna even though I am not a runner. She has the gift of describing events with crisp joyful clarity even when they are terrifying! Thank you Anna for sharing your adventure with such openness to both your physical struggles and emotional pain. You tell a great tale.

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  • jackypass
  • 10-05-22

fun yet inspiring listen.

Anna shows us how she follows her gut and accomplishes something quite amazing without being well prepared.