I received this book from the author and publisher, Zondervan, in exchange for a fair and honest review.
North of Hope by Shannon Huffman Polson is a memoir of a time in Shannon’s life when her world came crashing down, and she tried to get it back to normal.
Shannon’s father and stepmother, Kathy, were traveling on an Arctic hiking/river trip. A bear came onto their campsite and killed both of them.
This tragedy was too much for Shannon to deal with, and after a year of trying to do just that, she set out on her own Arctic adventure on her parents’ path.
Shannon, her adopted and troubled brother Ned, and his coworker, embark on this journey that follows the same path that her father and Kathy took. Along the way, Shannon is able to not only mourn properly and come to terms with the tragedy, but she is also able to take control of other parts of her life that were afflicted.
In addition to the main story of Shannon’s journey into the wilderness, she also provides information about her time in between the death and the trip, where she tries to find solace through music and various religious teachings (although the religion part is more spiritual and encompasses many faith’s ideas).
A few quotes jumped out at me:
“My resolve flickered like a flame in a gusty wind. I willed the wick to hold on to that tiny flame. It was all I had.” - p. 31
“One of the thoughts I could never shake the year after he died was that I no longer had anyone to check on me, no one making sure I was okay. Who would ever know what might happen to me, and who would care?” - p. 51, Shannon thinking of her father’s death
North of Hope was a touching read showing Shannon’s growth as an adult mourner coming to terms with her father’s death. It’s a good book to pick up in any phase of your life, but especially if you enjoy outdoor adventures and stories of people finding themselves.
And on a total side note, Shannon taught me something that I felt was very important! Waaaay back in high school, there was an MXPX song that had a foreign word that totally boggled my mind! I googled it, but couldn’t figure out what it was (turns out, I was spelling it wrong). And in the text, Shannon actually talked about it! So, thanks, Shannon, for helping me solve a lyrical mystery!
Are you an outdoorsy type of person?
Thanks for reading,