As a teenager, Blair Braverman — who always had an obsession with the North — lived as an exchange student in Norway, where she had a really messed up experience with her host family (namely, the father). So she spent the next 15 years or so trying to work through that by traveling to very, very cold places and putting herself in difficult and dangerous situations, trying to find some peace.
I did really enjoy certain parts of this book. Anything involving her work with sled dogs fascinated me. She lived on a freaking glacier for a few summers. She spent some time at a “folk school” in Norway, learning how to survive in the wilderness and about various Norwegian folk traditions. And her present day experiences in a small town in Norway contained quite the cast of characters.
But… one of the problems with critiquing an autobiography is you’re criticizing a person’s life — not just their writing. Who am I to pass judgment on a person’s decisions and experiences? But Braverman put them out there in this memoir, so I’m going to just say that she makes a lot of really questionable choices in this book — mostly concerning men, and her own personal safety. A lot of terrible things happen to her, while they’re certainly not all her fault, she does routinely put herself out there to get hurt, over and over. She’s using the book as a form of therapy, to work through her experiences and confront her past, and good for her for being brave enough to do that. But…sometimes that doesn’t translate to compelling reading. There’s a lot of talk about boys and relationships and bad sex, and I really just wanted her to tell me more about the dogs.