Oprah.com deputy editor Newman looks back on her life, from her childhood in Alaska to her family life in New York.
The author’s parents divorced when she was young, and she spent the school months with her mother in Baltimore, Md., and her summers with her father and his new family in Alaska. After she graduated from college, Newman landed a job at a travel magazine that allowed her to take trips to Europe while keeping a small apartment in New York. The author expresses many thoughts about her relationship with her husband but more importantly, with her parents—her mother was a struggling single mother with three jobs who appeared to have mental or emotional imbalances, and her father was a hunter and fisherman, a lover of wildlife survival and outdoor activities. Newman expresses resentment toward her mother due to her odd behavior and toward her father for being temperamental. Her relationship with both of them, however, is mostly predictable and doesn’t make for exciting reading; the same is true of her relationship with her husband, whom she left for a period because, as she repeats often, she was uncomfortable with commitment. She told him they should just stay married without saying much about the emotions that led to that moment. Her story and musings about why they got back together are not convincing or entertaining. The most interesting part of the book occurs at the beginning, in which the author describes outdoor life in Alaska.
The subtitle is exaggerated. Other than the setting, Newman’s story is fairly average.