Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

North Of Hope by Shannon Huffman Polson - a book review

About the book:

After her parents are killed in a rare grizzly attack, the author is forced into a wilderness of grief. Turning to loves she learned from her father, Polson explores the perilous terrain of grief through music, the natural world, and her faith. Her travels take her from the suburbs of Seattle to the concert hall where she sings Mozart's Requiem, and ultimately into the wilderness of Alaska's remote Arctic and of her heart.

This deeply moving narrative is shot through with the human search for meaning in the face of tragedy. Polson's deep appreciation for the untamed and remote wilderness of the Alaskan Arctic moves her story effortlessly between adventure, natural history, and sacred pilgrimage, as much an internal journey as a literal one. Readers who appreciate music or adventure narratives and the natural world or who are looking for new ways to understand loss will find guidance, solace, and a companionable voice in this extraordinary debut.

Wow. I'm not sure where to begin in this review. This book has all the makings of a fiction book, a movie even. At the start, it was difficult for me to believe that this was indeed a true story. Author Shannon Huffman Polson dives right in from the first page, providing incredible background and detail while carrying on three different - but all related, if that makes sense- aspects of her story. At first, I wasn't sure I was up to the task of following her style, but her telling of these horrific events proved gripping for me, and I found the pages quickly turning.

Polson is an extraordinary woman in my opinion, and honestly, I cannot relate to her endurance, adventuresome spirit or events. What I can and did relate to, is the human condition that she so eloquently laid out in this book. I understood the need to feel connected, to understand, the search for meaning and/or purpose in difficult, or in her case, tragic circumstances.

After finishing this compelling read, I am inspired. Inspired to what? Honestly, I can't say for sure. Perhaps it's understanding and feeling a similar sort of vulnerability as a human being. Feeling solidarity as we face our individual trials. Fighting through the pain and hopefully coming out stronger. I still can't put my finger on the exact feeling.

The book ends with a mix of closure and open ended-ness. ( Not sure that's even a word) I felt triumphant for the author, but left with a few questions. That uncertainty usually bothers me, but I don't feel that way with North Of Hope. It felt appropriate just that way.
Not a light read, but beautifully written, and worth the investment.

I love the trailer for this book. Watch it here:


You can purchase the book here - North Of Hope

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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