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A fond reminiscence of a man’s coming-of-age summer working as a firewatcher in the Montana Rockies.

Greene seemed to always have a love of the outdoors. But after the watershed summer of 1943, he devoted his life to nature, becoming an esteemed biology professor, director of an educational nature center and president of the American Nature Study Society. The foundation for this impressive life was laid when he was a wide-eyed 16-year-old on a journey to the unexplored spaces of northwestern Montana. There, far away from his home in suburban Philadelphia, he planned to work on a trail maintenance crew and gain a Thoreauvian appreciation of life. Cabinet National Forest was a desolate, uninhabited and supremely beautiful place—but also terrifying at times, particularly to a teenager. Like any great journey, the summer was not without its ups and downs. Greene switched crews several times in the first weeks and experienced homesickness and longing for his girlfriend more than 3,000 miles away. What lay ahead, however, would prove to be the most challenging. Within a week of beginning his sojourn as the solitary firewatcher atop Berray Mountain, Greene had several near-breakdowns. In one suspenseful, touching scene, he flees down the mountain, unable to bear the loneliness of his station, seeking civilization or human contact in any form. A wise ranger calms him with a stern lesson, and from there, Greene is a changed man. Through it all—or at least through the retelling of it—Greene maintains a humility, sense of humor and earnestness that is wholly appealing and endearing. The story itself is well written and steady, and some of the most enjoyable sections are the author’s open, honest analysis of his younger self’s less attractive emotions. Most importantly, this is no sad, elegiac memoir; instead, it’s a man toasting his youth and celebrating life with the same vitality he earned so many summers ago. An excellent memoir for those who have experienced the wonder of open Western space, or the delayed rush of maturity.


Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1618630001

Page Count: 165

Publisher: Bookstand

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2012

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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