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Showing 1-10 of 162 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 187 reviews
on August 17, 2014
I read this book because my sister-in-law lives in Haines, Alaska, the small town that Heather Lende writes about in this and her first book. I’ve visited this town and life is certainly different. The winters are harsh and many of the things the rest of us take for granted are not so readily available. Like our choice of supermarkets or having a hospital close by. When the writer was literally run over by a truck, she had to be airlifted to a trauma hospital in Seattle. And here is the next coincidence I found in her book. My mother was operated on by the same excellent orthopedic surgeon in the same hospital. The writer recovers with the support of friends and neighbors. So life in a small town in Alaska has its inconveniences but the upside is that the community is a real community. They’re there for each other and neighborly because they’re all in the same small boat. She relates stories and anecdotes about incidents and accidents and histories of many of the colorful residents. It draws you in and everything is washed in a poetic cozy homespun glow. Life in this town harkens back to a more simple time, when people built their own houses and grew their own food and pulled together to help each other out. Many people hunt and fish and their houses are decorated with hides and stuffed heads and antlers. She describes hunting goats and bears. As a vegetarian, this is a part of the book I didn’t like. She also talked quite a bit about her involvement in church and her faith which I also didn’t relate to but that is who she is and I still found the book interesting and enjoyable and philosophical.~
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon July 25, 2010
I am not sure how I ended up getting hold of Heather Lende's first book, "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name" but it was a copy that I didn't own. After reading that fabulous book, I purchased it to add to my library (which is contrary to my overall philosophy of getting rid of "stuff"). I loved it so much that I knew I would re-read it and want to loan it out to friends - which I have.

While I was falling in love with Haines, Alaska and Ms. Lende's stories, I had no idea that she was battling a major accident. A truck literally ran over her while she was out biking just prior to the release of the previous book. Due to that life-altering event, the tone of this second book is a bit different from the first. The reader is given a glimpse of the horrific accident and the major trauma she endured as well as what it is like to go through something like this where there is no trauma center nearby. The first portion of the book revolves around what was happening in her life at the time of the accident and the year following as she recovers and also deals with the death of her mother. Later in the book, the message changes a bit and, while still important as any life-changing event would be, there is a return to more of the tone of the previous book. Alaska again takes center stage and the reader is allowed a glimpse into the lives of the people who live there.

Part spiritual exploration, part physical/emotional healing, part love letter to Alaska, this is a wonderful book that continues to chronicle life in that beautiful state. A strong recommendation to anyone interested in Alaska or interested in the strength and resiliency of an incredible woman/family.

(Note: I bought it in hardback and it is staying with the other "stuff" I can't possibly get rid of !)
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on August 12, 2013
I find Heather Lende's writing to be unique... I am not a fan of the reviews that compare her writing to other authors ...partly as not many of them are authors I like (I am not a Lamott or Dillard fan at all!).

I read Heather Lende's first book and this second book, back to back having just discovered her writing. I loved both but I thought this book had a bit more depth, more experience, more emotion...but as the one review I DO really agree with states: she writes "emotionally but not sentimentally" - that is an important distinction to me. Emotion is real...sentimentality is often overboard and uncomfortable.

I enjoyed the mingling of stories around a theme, the conclusions drawn, the experience shared.

For the record, I am a 3x married, but now single woman in my late 50's - no children. I am conservative politically. I have a strong and living faith but do not attend any church. Despite all these things, I very much enjoy and have learned from the writings of a woman of my years but a woman who is a mother and grandmother, a liberal!!! and a church goer.

Perspective is a funny thing. My perspective of this book is of a wonderful sharing of one person's experience in a small town in Alaska. I enjoyed it very much and think I will be rereading it many times.
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on November 21, 2015
A thoughtfull book justaposing the author's experiences with a life threatening accident and her mother's death, probably best preceded by the reading of Mrs. Lende's earlier "If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name." If you enjoy small towns and the interesting people who live in and around them, you'll enjoy both books. Care for others, even those with whom we disagree, and true community are common themes expressed in practical ways without sanctimoniousness.The author is an NPR commentator; these books read like that.
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VINE VOICEon July 21, 2014
Heather Lende is the author of the best selling Memoir “If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name” which was about her life in the small town of Haines, Alaska. Right before her first book release, she was riding her bicycle and got hit by a truck. Very scary, and she came close to dying. Interestingly, death is something she is familiar with because she is the town’s obituary writer. The essays in this memoir are about her long recovery, and how it has had an effect on her faith, and her observations of life in her home town.

I like her writing style, its like talking to a friend; swapping stories, acknowledging those little “ah ha” moments, and it touches something deep inside—the human experience—the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next. Reading her words can slow down the rush of our busy lives and connect us to something bigger. Very enjoyable, with one icky story about hunting I could have done without, other than that I liked this book. For TV’s Gold Rush fans, her friend John Schnabel and Porcupine Creek are mentioned. 4 stars for this kindle version.
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on January 22, 2012
My book arrived a few hours ahead of a snowstorm so I was happy to curl up with it while winter did its thing outside. I thought it was ironic to receive a book about living in Alaska while we were having our first snow of the year.

I read Heather's column in WOMAN'S DAY and wanted to read this book to learn more about her accident and recovery. I broke my back in a fall and spent some time in a nursing home, like Heather did, although I had worked in one so knew what to expect!

I love her descriptions of her part of Alaska and the people who live there. Her faith is a big part of her life and I like that too. I think she is a woman who has it all!

Carolyn
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2016
Heather Lende lives in Haines, Alaska and is, among other things, the obituary for her town's newspaper. But this book also has a different angle. When she is involved in a bicycle accident that nearly kills her, she discovers, and writes about, a new perspective of her fellow town people and how vital they were in her long and difficult recovery.
I've been a fan of Lende's work since I discovered her first book If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska in a shop the Spit in Homer, Alaska. She writes in a clear fashion, allowing a reader a new perspective on l "bad breaks and small miracles." Her latest book is Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer, another gem of a book.
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on December 12, 2013
I am reading and enjoying Ms. Lende's second book "Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs." Heather Lende has such a great outlook on life with all the problems she has had. Every thing in her life was going so well, she had many plans. Her first book was being published, she was doing some home remodeling, she planned a book tour. Then the accident. One day, while riding her bike, she was run over by a truck. The truck rolled over her body breaking many bones, she is lucky to be alive. She had to be flown to Seattle, there was no way to treat her with so many injuries, even in Anchorage. She was hospitalized, then three weeks in a nursing home, then ten weeks in bed, wheelchair, cane, then a long time recuperating. A year after her accident, she had to go home to New York. Her mother was dying, Heather was still recuperating

Each chapter of her book is headed by passages from the Bible, and some from the Book of Common Prayer. Ms Lande is Episcopalian, but respects, admires and is comfortable with other religions and beliefs.

This woman has an enormous zest for living. She loves her family, her home, her animals, her town, she likes doing housework, cooking, cleaning, loves to garden. Great attitude, she is not a complainer, she is a worker, not a shirker. Ms Lende is so involved in the life of her town, volunteers in so much that is going on, knows all of Haines citizens, she writes a little about the history of her part of Alaska where she lives. She is a lover of life, a lover of people. She is involved in the lives of the Tlingits, has helped, one in a huge group of many,to set a totem into the ground that was carved by a Tlingit friend. I have visited Alaska and liked seeing the totems. I bought several miniature totems, tourist gifts. These small totems have attached tags telling their stories. Ms Lende writes of Indian village life. While I was in Alaska, I visited a small Indian village, tourist related and saw a small part of Indian ways of working. There is the ceremony of releasing bald eagles, eagles that have been wounded then rehabilitated and set free. Heather's husband, Chip, has become a clan brother with a Tlingit friend. She attended the ceremony and writes much of these people and what fun they are. When in Haines, I visited the Hammer Museum. One Hammer that stood out for me is a large rock from thousands of years ago that was used to kill an enemy.

I enjoy reading about Heather talking to God. She invites readers into her world, her thoughts, her life. Readers are introduced to her many friends, many of these people have moved from the lower fortyeight. These people love nature, love winter, are very competent in building, creating, doing, just as Heather is.

I am taking my timereading this book. It so enjoyable, no complaining, good outlook on life. There is so much angst in much writing. This book is a breath of fresh air. The short time I was in Haines, I passed a store advertising a book by our local Haines author. Many readers write that there is too much death in Ms Lande's books. But death is part of life. Ms Lende has come to terms with death.

This book is coming to an end. Someone tells Heather she should forgive Kevin for accidentally running her over. She has never held it against him, long been forgotten. So she goes into his store, hugs him, then feels much better. She feels she has changed much for the better since her accident. Sigh of relief, matter closed.

It is surprising how many plays and musicals aare presented in Haines. These people must make their own entertainment and learn to sing, dance, act. Ms Lende has always loved music since early childhood. Many talented people live in Alaska.

Good reading, just as good as the first book. Inspiring. The part of the country where I live, the Dallas/Fort Worth area, has just had much unwanted ice and snow. Everything is closed down, cancelled, frozen streets, hard to get around. These sturdy Alaskans don't seem to let such mundane occurances phase them, but like the snow and cold, the beauty of winter.
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on May 9, 2015
This book is a nice comfortable read. It is the story of Heather's life in a small town in Alaska where everyone knows everyone and about all the activities that she is involved in and the people that she knows. It also is about her bicycle accident and her recovery from it which I found very interesting. Heather is a hospice volunteer. This is where the book title comes from, the last words of a dying woman. She also writes obituaries for the local paper so the book deals with feelings about living and death and faith but in a philosophical rather than a religious way. She delves into the lives of many others in the town and her relationships with them. I enjoyed learning about life in an Alaska fishing village and sharing in the lives of it's inhabitants.
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on March 5, 2012
Suddenly I am reading books by Alaskan authors. I have never been to Alaska. And I have no desire to do so although my grandchildren's other grandparents live up there as does one of my daughters. Brr. So when I received this book as a gift, I put it aside, thinking I would get to it. Maybe. And then I just decided to give it a try. It's wonderful in spite of what others say here. But I'll readily admit it's not for everyone. The author writes obituaries for the local paper in Haines, Alaska, a place that apparently one can get to only by water or air. She is the mother of five children and apparently quite happily married. And just one of those people who is into everything there in Haines. And that's what she writes about except she adds little pieces of wisdom, sometimes her own but mostly what she has gleaned from others. She was seriously injured when a truck ran over her. Her mothers in it. She picks berries and then makes jams. She recovers enough to go back to riding her bicycle. And in her folk voice one just comes to wish she lived next door. Each chapter has a focus, but then she tends to wander, delightfully so. And she has a wonderful writing style that certainly drew me in, so much so that I might not put off, as I have, writing a memoir about my life as a teacher. But she didn't convince me that I should give Alaska a try. I'll simply enjoy Alaska in Miami Beach, thank you very much. And, by the way, the other Alaska author I read is David Vann's "Caribou Island." It is wonderful.
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