Tuesday, April 2, 2013

North of Hope Book Review

Book Review of North of Hope
  by Shannon Huffman Polson

REVIEW BY: L. Bankhead

     This is something new on the shelves April 9 from Shannon Polson.  She's a writer that loves high adventure sports and is an ex-Army attack helicopter pilot.  She also touts multiple degrees and expertise in many fields, as well as singing with the critically acclaimed Seattle Pro Musica.  This book is a memoir that covers Huffman's healing journey through the Acrtic in Alaska.  She is the daughter of parents who were killed by a grizzly in Alaska's remote Arctic.  She retraces the fateful journey her parents died on to find the cure for her hopelessness and grieving spirit.  The book largely covers the human search for meaning with the face of calamity. 
    I will tell  you up front that I did not enjoy this book.  Although Polson is a vivid and creative writer, this was the most self-loathing, depressing, egomaniacal book I have ever read.  I understand that loosing your parents is very difficult, and can be sudden and blind-siding.  But, sixteen chapters of listening to someone whine and despair is more than I can tolerate.  You can tell that the author, at the time of the tragedy, was single with no children.  No wife and mother that I know would have the time or selfishness to stop their lives and fall into a downward spiral of depressive and mercenary living.  If you want to read a book about depression and sadness, then grab this one quick.  I just wanted to shake the author and say, "It's been years, move on!"  If she was this over-the-top disconsolate about her parents death, what would happen to this poor woman in the death of her now spouse and children.  I don't recommend this book to anyone for any reason.  Although, if you'd like to find out about the Arctic in Alaska, there is history, geology and anthropology here, but it's not comprehensive.  I suggest visiting a library for that. 

(I received this book free from Handlebar Publishing as part of their blogging program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.") 

NEXT UP!  Reviews coming your way this Spring....

Captive In Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh

Stress Test by Richard Mabry

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist 


Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Wow. Just wow. Have you ever lost a loved one? I would guess not. It is never selfish to grieve.

If some of your readers may have lost someone, they should read this book. It stuns you with its beauty, even as it describes some difficult things. I have not suffered loss like Shannon did and yet her observations felt applicable to my life–I found myself nodding in agreement at her insights about grief, God and the way that any suffering transforms and strengthens us–eventually.
To me, the book was not whiny at all! It was courageous and ultimately hopeful.
The author's blog at is also a must-read.

Jennifer Bardsley said...

I had the same thoughts about a single person/versus a wife and mother. I just didn't have the courage to write that in my review!

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