Tuesday, July 30, 2013

North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey

Shannon Polson's life changes with a phone call one summer day. Her dad and step-mother were killed by a bear while on a camping trip in northern Alaska.  Loving camping and life outdoors, Polson's parents were used to camping in remote places and encountering various wildlife.  Bear attacks are rare, and Polson later reveals that an attack had never occurred before her dad's and step-mother's in this location, or after.

Now, as the anniversary of her dad and step-mom's death approaches, Polson journeys back to the last place they  were alive.  The trip is not without risks, but Polson feels a pull toward this place, acknowledging that she wants to feel connected yet to her dad.  Along for the trip is her adopted brother, a person with whom she has always had tense relationship, and a co-worker of his.  

North of Hope is Polson's way of dealing with her grief, a tribute to her father and step-mom.  It is a chronicle of her trip, not focusing too heavily on the nature or her surroundings.  And it is part memoir - sharing her own life story and that of her dad and step-mom.

Although the story was sad, I often found myself thinking of friends who had lost a parent and how well Polson's story would resonate with them.  Polson's ability to share of her grieving honestly makes this a worthwhile read.

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