This is a series of essays about life in small town Alaska. Of course, there are many stories of neighbors banding together to help each other out; spaghetti feeds, canning salmon, etc. It could be way too cutesy—but it isn’t. Lende is honest, and self-reflective. I was going to rate this 3 or 3 ½ stars, based on the writing, but in the end, I enjoyed reading the book so much I am moving it up to 4 stars. I was intrigued by this description of a way of life so different than mine. I love the outdoors—but at heart I am a city girl. Haines is a town of 2400 in a remote location in the inner passage. Drop-dead gorgeous-- and with lots of perils. One of the most harrowing parts of the book is a description of a 5-6 hour drive to Whitehorse, through a snowstorm, with Lende’s son who had acute appendicitis. (They made it in the nick of time.)From reading this book, life in Haines is super-dangerous. Maybe it’s because Lende is an obituary writer, but there is death after death, many of them deaths of young people engaged in outdoor pursuits. Yet Lende still allowed her own daughters to work in a fishing boat, because she wanted them to be a part of the place. I admire Lende for this, but I don’t understand it.Another strong part of the book is her description of living in a small town, where everyone is like family, and you have to get along, despite strong differences of opinion. This is so different than my life—I live in an especially liberal part of Portland, Oregon, so seldom encounter any non-tree-huggers. In one chapter, Lende describes trying, unsuccessfully, to put together an anti-homophobia workshop after a bullying incident at the local high school. Lende was frustrated, but I was heartened by her brave attempts to engage her conservative neighbors in this fight.