After a little bit of persuading, James Campbell takes his fifteen year old daughter Aidan to help build a new cabin up in the Alaskan wilds for a friend. Little does she know it will require more grit and resolve than someone her age may be able to muster. Braving It covers all of their adventures in fine detail. The juicy taste of blackberries that ripened in the Alaskan sun, the feeling of finishing a cabin with your bare hands, the ache in your legs as you make your way through a river pass. These things are why you will continue to read this book.
Braving It goes over three separate trips: A visit to help an old friend build a cabin, a winter adventure visiting said cabin, and a long trek and paddle down the HulaHula River. Within these three tales, both learn the strength of their bond, and the real purpose of family when dealing with the callous wild.
- Campbell's descriptions really put you there. The weather, the greenery, the animals, everything that is apart of the experience, is detailed to the point that you feel present in the wilderness of the last frontier.
-I wish we had gotten a little bit of insight from his daughter Aidan. You can learn more about her own experiences and thoughts at her blog (I have included a link in the button below).
- Campbell occasionally comes off as arrogant and headstrong- but he often admits in reflection he knew he was wrong. To be honest, if you're going to be an explorer and a journalist you have to be resilient and have that sort of personality, or you probably won't last long.
-The bond and understanding between father and daughter sometimes strains during narration. It's obvious that both of them love and respect each other, but seeing the stress that nature adds to their relationship brings reality and the harshness of nature crashing down into reality in the book, and it makes it all the more introspective.
-The real theme of Braving It is how indifferent nature is. Through a heartbreaking tale from longtime friend Heimo about loosing his daughter on the river, to Aidan and James coming across polar bears or almost capsizing their canoe on a swiftly running river, this reminder pops up often.
-Their multiple journeys are fascinating. Even though some lingo and nicknames for camping and exploring are used, they are framed so that you know exactly what is going on in the moment.
-If you love the idea of Alaska, but don't think you'll ever get to go (or you know you wouldn't be able to hack it), this book will fulfill your wanderlust.
*There was an instance of a derogatory old name being referenced for a plant that was really unneeded. It took away from my concentration while I was reading because it was so superfluous. There was only one instance I could think of this happening though.
~I received a free copy from the publisher for an honest review~