Book review: Growing Up Alaska

Growin Up Alaska cover 2x3

In her Far North memoir, Growing Up Alaska: Memories of a Town, a Time, a Place, and a People Planted in a Little Pocket of Wonderful, author Niki Breeser Tschirgi describes everything from getting stuck deep in the woods on a snow machine to being charged by a 1,000-pound “mean mama moose” while canoeing with her family on Moon Lake.

Set in the small, isolated Alaskan town of Tok (pronounced “Toke”) during the 1980s, Tschirgi’s memoir also conveys the beauty of the fireweed-festooned landscape and the strong sense of community that grew out of the Tok residents’ dependence on one another. In her straightforward writing style, Tschirgi takes the reader fishing on the Copper River and tubing down Suicide Hill.

Tschirgi refers to her Alaskan home as “a little pocket of something wonderful,” which explains why although she and her family eventually moved out of Alaska, she knows that “if you’ve ever lived in Alaska, you never really say goodbye.”

Growing Up Alaska: Memories of a Town, a Time, a Place, and a People Planted in a Little Pocket of Wonderful by Niki Breeser Tschirgi

Dog Ear Publishing, 2015

156 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4575-3771-4

Available at www.growingupalaska.net and amazon.com.

 

Under the Influence of Tall Trees available at As You Wish

My book Under the Influence of Tall Trees: Humorous Tales from a Pacific Northwest Writer is now available at As You Wish, a gift shop located at 6063 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, Oregon. I may hold a reading there in 2015, so stay tuned. The store has a Facebook page: AsYouwishpdx. Store phone: (503) 740-0881. A big thank you to store owner Betsy Robinson, for creating the community center.

As You Wish 11-15-14

Under the Influence of Tall Trees: Humorous Tales from a Pacific Northwest Writer

Here are some comments on my book Under the Influence of Tall Trees: Humorous Tales From a Pacific Northwest Writer (available at Broadway Books) and amazon.com):

“Reading your book makes me super happy. It’s funny, witty, and poignant and somehow always exactly what I need when I pick it up and read it.” — Jamie Caulley

“I really enjoyed your book. I read the whole thing twice!” — Lou Krohn

“I’m laughing out loud.” — Dani McGinty

Tall Trees cover

Cranberry Sauce

Because Thanksgiving is near and, to me, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce, I’m posting this excerpt from my book Hooked on Antifreeze: True Tales About Loving and Leaving Alaska.

Recipe for Cranberry Sauce

Be my mom. Wait until first frost. Then, one weekend while out at Harding Lake, wander off to “check out the berries.” Under the power lines that surround the lake, find your usual patch of low-bush cranberries. Pick fast and clean. Notice how red, hard, and round the berries are, like smooth garnets, like natural rubies, like rosary beads. With each plunk, allow yourself to be carried further and further away from all that being a wife and mother means.

Back in town, freeze the berries. Then, one day when your husband returns from a grouse hunt, tell your eldest daughter to “Go downstairs and get some berries out of the freezer.” When she whines and says “Why do I have to do everything?” say, “Hurry now. Quick like a bunny. You’ll be done before you know it.”

Mix the berries with sugar and a little water in a pot. Bring to a boil until all the skins pop.