Apr 7, 2013

Edges of the Earth

by Richard Leo

This is an adventure story about a man who leaves his New York city apartment and takes his girlfriend into the Alaskan wilderness. Enamoured of the wide open spaces, he throws himself into the difficulties of living in the bush with little reserve. It's readily apparent that he's clueless from the start at how to make a living out there; I was skeptical at first how long they would last and kept expecting some big disaster. Living without electricity, running water, or a neighbor for miles, Leo exulted in the solitude and closeness to wild things, but his girlfriend (who became his wife) couldn't handle the rough living and deprivations. Eventually (not much of a spoiler) they separated and she remained in town while their son lived mostly with him. I was pretty astonished at this man's tenacity and ingenuity. He built a log cabin by himself, learned to run a dog team, tried climbing mountains. Rather slipshod most of the time, but did it regardless. My favorite part of the book was reading about how his son grew up close to nature. And I was waiting to see how long it would take him to hold out, living on beans and rice (imported) because he didn't have the skills or desire to kill game for food. In many ways this story reminded me a lot of Christopher McCandless, Into the Wild. Foolhardy and ignorant perhaps, but determined to make a go at living his dream, and this guy actually did it.

I realized while writing this post that I've read his later book, Way Out Here, where you can see how well he adapted to living in the wilderness and how his son grew up in the cabin. I think personally I liked the second book better.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 384 pages, 1991

3 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I would have left him too. lol Of course, I probably would never have gone with him in the first place.

Jenny said...

Oh Lord. I would never ever ever under any circumstances agree to do it. I can hardly face living somewhere without an awesome library in town, let alone somewhere without RUNNING WATER.

Jeane said...

Bermudaonion- I might have gone. She did admire the beauty of the remote wilderness, but the difficulties of living out there too much.

Jenny- I like my comforts too! Especially the library. Can you image, living so far away, how much money I would spend on bookstores in town, ha ha?