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My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel by [Sharon Short]

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My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 60 ratings

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Length: 334 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 18 and up Grade Level: 12 and up
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Editorial Reviews


"I recommend this book to the individual reader, as well as to a book club looking to encourage thoughtful discussion..."
Saturday Evening Post

"Book clubs and readers of all ages, from teens to their grandmothers, will identify with the protagonists' quest to be true to themselves."
Library Journal

"...wonderfully captures the feel of small-town 1950s, a young woman's yearning for freedom, and her struggle to deal with how small, seemingly innocuous choices have life-changing consequences."
Publishers Weekly
"Full of heart, My One Square Inch of Alaska evokes a specific slice of 1950s Americana... In Donna, Short presents a heroine forced into a youthful maturity that doesn't rob her of optimism, loyalty and amazing good sense."
Shelf Awareness

"...a quest story that resonates for men as well as women in a heartwarming and compassionate way."
Historical Novel Review

"I finished the book with tears in my eyes, ready to recommend it to friends and students alike..  An affecting read, appropriate for even the youngest high school audiences."
School Library Journal

"A lovely uplifting read - you'll love it."
Essentials Magazine

" endearing story of a teenage girl who is balancing her dreams with the crushing reality of family responsibilities. Donna is a compelling character with whom readers can easily identify."
Romantic Times Book Reviews

"...The truth and authenticity of Donna's memories of the pivotal year of her life simply bowled me over... Be prepared because once you start listening to what Donna has to say, you'll be glued to your seat until she's finished her tale."
Beth Fish Reads

"It's not that often I read a book that can evoke so much emotion in me... Beautiful story. Five stars."
Book Babe

From the Author

At a book club gathering, one of the women asked if anyone remembered the deeds to one square inch of Alaska that used to come in cereal boxes in the 1950s. (The question wasn't related to the book we were discussing.) The 1950s were before I was born, but I was immediately taken with this compelling concept... the desire for a deed to one tiny bit of land in a vast frontier, and what that could symbolize. Almost immediately, the shadowy image of a young woman and her little brother, standing together and holding hands, appeared in my imagination. I couldn't 'see' them yet in sharp detail, but I could 'feel' them saying, "tell our story."  I had no idea what their story would or should be, but by the time I returned home, I'd written in my head the scene where Donna and Will finally see his one square inch. The scene narrated itself in what would become Donna's first person voice. I went home, wrote down the scene in a journal, and then realized I had a lot of work to do to figure out who these characters were, how they got to that one square inch, and what living in the 1950s was like for them. I spent the next two years or so mining my own imagination, as well as doing a lot of research, to bring the story to life--and I loved every minute of the process.

I believe I felt so impassioned about writing Donna and Will's story because, at its heart, it's about embracing, believing in and following one's dreams.... even if the odds are long or everyone else is saying 'you can't do this!' I've always been a believer in following one's dreams and working hard to achieve them, balancing that belief with realism. My children were at the age of transitioning from being teenagers to being young adults, so this personal experience also informed my thinking about this theme.

Every character in the novel represents some aspect of how we can respond to dreams; Jimmy and Babs find themselves under pressure to ignore exploring their own dreams in order to follow others' expectations, while many of the adult characters have denied their dreams or followed a dream that's really an illusion, and become bitter as a result. Mr. Cahill and MayJune are the adult exceptions to this; they understand and embrace their dreams, and encourage Donna and Will in theirs.

Will represents the wonderfully innocent belief of the very young in chasing dreams simply for the joy of the chase. His illness, and his awareness of its severity, give him an urgency, fierceness, and stubbornness in pursuing his dream that he might otherwise not have. His one tiny bit of territory represents the life-affirming importance of embracing one's dreams.

I also very much relate to Donna. Although I grew up more than 25 years later than she, and had different life circumstances, at our core, our emotional experiences as we grew up are very similar, so there is a lot of a younger me in Donna.

Product details

  • Publication date : January 29, 2013
  • File size : 872 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 334 pages
  • Publisher : Plume (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B008JHXSM8
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Page numbers source ISBN : B00FY5B1PY
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60 ratings

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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