This is a memoir of James Campbell and his teenage daughter Aidan and their several trips to Alaska. The first is to help James’ cousin Heimo build a new cabin upstream. The second time they return to help Heimo set up their trap lines. Their last trip is to paddle the Hulahula River in a canoe. They face clouds of mosquitoes, the threat of grizzlies, bathing in an ice-cold river, backpacking over Alaska’s Brooks Range and hours of hard labor. Braving It is a tip of the hat to America’s disappearing wilderness, what it means to grow up and finally let go.
This book truly immerses you into James’s life. While reading every word, you truly become more and more aware of who he and his daughter are. James paints a beautiful memoir that will take you along the journey to Alaska, all while being in the comfort of your own home. You truly see the father/daughter relationship emerge and see all the ups and downs that come along with it. There is also so much rich cultural history and this book teaches so much, such as Alaska has 40 types of mosquitos. You see the harsh beauty that is Alaska from a front row seat. You can also feel the love Campbell has for Alaska as each word is written so poetically. I was thoroughly impressed by Aidan. She was such a trooper. She sets out to do something and did it! For a teenager she was impressively strong willed. I also loved the added photos in the middle of the book. It helps for the reader to really see who these people are and helps paint Campbell’s description even better. The chapter titles were also amazingly picked as the accurately fit to each of the following context. “As the day’s light dimmed, and the palette of colors that tinged the sky faded, I spotted a great gray owl-perhaps the one that Edna and Aidan had seen.”- pg 185. Its words like these that are there just simply to describe it getting dark out that pull me into this beautiful read and make me never want to leave it. Thank you Blogging For Books for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review. 5 stars from me.
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