Five years ago, Don Snyder was teaching English at Colgate University. He was forty years old and had a wife, three children, a new baby on the way, and what seemed like a secure middle-class future. But then Snyder lost his chance at tenure — and, all of a sudden, he was out of a job.
The Cliff Walk is a moving, clear-eyed account of Snyder’s agonizing loss and what it feels like to fall, rung by rung, down the socio-economic ladder. Snyder chronicles the denial and disbelief he went through as his hopes of finding another teaching job faded after being rejected for ninety positions. He explains how each painful change — selling his house, buying groceries with food stamps — reminded him how much he and his family had taken for granted in their previous life. And he describes how he finally found new hope in a job on a home construction crew in Maine. Working outside for ten hours a day through a vicious winter taught Snyder about his own cowardice and the lies he had come to believe about what a professional life of hard work entitled him to.
Written with precision and elegance, The Cliff Walk captures the depth of one family’s love and speaks to anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to be out of a job and out in the cold.