BRAVING IT by James Campbell


A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild
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A father and daughter’s adventures in Alaska.

When Campbell’s (The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea, 2007, etc.) daughter Aidan turned 15, it was time to fulfill a promise that he’d made before she was in kindergarten: someday, they would go to Alaska together. Originally, the father-daughter duo planned to canoe one of Alaska’s majestic rivers, but when the author’s cousin and his wife, “some of the last hunter-trapper-gatherers living in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” asked for help building a log cabin in the wild, they decided to shift gears. With humor and honesty, Campbell brings readers along for the adventure, which is full of swarms of hungry mosquitoes, the fear of grizzly bears, and the push-pull relationship between a teenage girl and her father. Both of them overcame weariness, muscle aches, and their own stubborn personalities and learned to enjoy the work and to feel the wonder of their natural surroundings. All too soon, they were headed back to their hometown in rural Wisconsin. Discontent quickly settled, and before long, they were planning another trip to Alaska, this time in early winter to help the cousin on his traplines. They faced frostbite, hunger, and more hardships but shared the beauty of the Alaskan dusk and the aurora borealis. Back in Wisconsin once again, they longed for the openness of the Arctic, so they planned a third trip, this time down the Hulahula River. Once again, father and daughter had to face difficulties at every turn, including whitewater rapids, more bears, and each other, but perseverance and love overcame any obstacles. Campbell expertly blends facts on the flora, fauna, and general life in the Alaskan bush with his reflections on being middle-aged, with many adventurous years behind him, as opposed to his daughter, whose quest for adventure has only just begun.

Informative, humorous, and full of a love of nature.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-307-46124-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2016


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