Book Review: Braving It


Reading this father/daughter memoir brought back so many memories for me of my short stint living in Alaska. I was nowhere near the remote wilderness that these two were, but I could imagine it. I could not, however, imagine living it. Amazon’s premise of the story explains a little bit of why I felt that way:

Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell’s cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aidan, to join him: Would she be able to withstand clouds of mosquitoes, the threat of grizzlies, bathing in an ice-cold river, and hours of grueling labor peeling and hauling logs?

The author’s descriptions were so vivid that I could feel the cold and imagine the trials and tribulations of building a cabin with your bare hands. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t stay longer in Alaska. It’s a place where you need to be very resourceful. And fearless. And outdoorsy enough to survive, even if you’re in a major town. Alaska truly is the Last Frontier.

I enjoyed all the personal insight, too, into the author’s relationship with his daughter and her perseverance in their adventure. I found it fascinating that she had trouble adjusting to the ordinariness of life back in Wisconsin. It makes sense. She thrived in Alaska. As did he.

Definitely a good book to curl up with next to a fire. It’s the kind of book that transports you enough that you’ll need a blanket and a hot beverage while you read it, too. I liked reading it in winter when I could experience the cold while I read it; brought the adventures to life.

If you have any travel narratives to recommend, please share! I’m always looking for new ones to read.


8 responses to “Book Review: Braving It

  1. While I was in Yellowstone I read Tim Cahill’s book Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park. I love the book and really enjoyed the movie – Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Jon Krakauer and Into the Wild.

    I could not take an adventure like this with my father – we would last a few hours and have to make a run to civilization. My spouse maybe.

    Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

    • Thanks for the book reco’s. I loved Wild and Into the Wild. Also highly recommend those. Now I’ll have to look for Tim Cahill’s book. I could read it on a trip to Alaska because I’m sure I wouldn’t be outside building a cabin with my bare hands!

  2. I’d be interested to see how you felt when reading this in light of your own experiences with your father… 😉

    • My dad was ALWAYS building and doing home improvements when I was a kid. I was a very poor helper — which is probably how I know that this father-daughter adventure in Alaska would not have worked well for me.

  3. I truly enjoyed the wilderness of Alaska in my three years there, Juliann. There is a feeling of what life would have been like for early explorers, heading off into the great unknown. I could throw on my backpack and leave ‘civilization’ (Anchorage) behind. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂 –Curt

    • As much as I loved Alaska, left to my own devices, I’d never survive. But I’ll bet you would, Curt! You survived the 10,000-mile bike trek. I believe you could survive anything!

      • Laughing… being a California boy, I have to confess that the weather got to me on occasion. There is nothing like backpacking in the rain for a week. Everything gets wet! 🙂

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