Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North

Monday, February 3, 2020

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North
Blair Braverman, 2016

Premise: A memoir about survival, independence, and dogsledding. Content warnings for sexual assault, rape, and animal injury and death (sheep).

Blair Braverman was always drawn north. Always drawn to snow and ice, to the aurora and the darkness of the Arctic latitudes. This is her story.

I had a little trouble following the narrative at first, but I think that's more a function of my scattered reading time and attention than a problem with the book. It flips back and forth between the "present" - an extended summer visit to a rural town in Norway - and all the adventures that lead up to it.

Blair's determination leads her to take on great things, but it also causes her to not seek help: first when she's subject to unwanted attention while an exchange student and later in a toxic relationship. Ultimately, the book is about how she is able to balance her desire for independence and a physically demanding life with building good and loving relationships.

The description is extremely vivid and it never shies away from portraying the unsavory or the gruesome, almost to a fault. She also spends a lot of time on everything that surrounds her, often only implying her own perspective. I think both these choices are fair and interesting, but it did mean the book didn't resonate with me personally as much as other memoirs. I think it's extremely well-written, but it didn't completely land for me.

3 Stars - A Good Book

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