Reader reviews for If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name : News from Small-T...

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Tiny Haines, Alaska, ninety miles north of Juneau, is accessible mainly by water or air—and only when the weather is good. There’s no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace; and funerals are community affairs. As both obituary writer and social columnist for the local newspaper, Heather Lende knows better than anyone the goings-on in this breathtakingly beautiful place. Her offbeat chronicle brings us inside her busy life: we meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local hardware store; their five children; and a colorful assortment of friends and offbeat neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, Mormon spelunkers . . . as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land.
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Very warming account of the author's life in a very small, but immensely scenic town in Alaska. The author is an obituary writer and spends a lot of the book talking about the citizens who have passed away, but for the most part it is a joyful book since their lives, as described, are interesting and worth noting. I did find that her perspective was a bit pollyannish; there seemed to be reference to a large number of young adults killed in car accidents and I can't believe that all the citizens are quite as pleasant (though eccentric) as she describes. Still, she obviously loves the town, accepts what to many of us would be hardships as pleasant challenges, and has raised a close family. Interesting person, interesting life.
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A fabulous collection of vignettes about life in small town Alaska. Lende is a well-known and well-liked columnist in Alaska. In her home town of Haines, she is also the local Obituary writer. This is her first book, and it faithfully captures the essence of living in this crazy beautiful dangerous place. It is full of the dichotomy of living in Alaska: frequent untimely deaths measured against abundant and glorious life. It takes a special breed to love living in Alaska, especially a remote town like Haines, and Lende introduces us to many of those folks. Honest and thoughtful, this is a book that is a meditation on life, death and a generous dose of love.
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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.
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Essays about life - and death - in very, very small-town Alaska. Humorous, poignant. Worth reading.
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I was pleasantly surprised by "If you lived here I'd know your name". Living in Juneau I had assumed that this book was not so god, but it sold well as a tourist charmer. Well, I was wrong. Every single Haines scene described is engrossing in itself.
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This is not really a travel book, but an inside view of what it is like to live (and die) in small-town Alaska--all this without descending into sentimentality. The most engaging book I have read in a long time.
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I thought this was great! Heather Linde and her husband moved to small town Alaska in 1984. In her book she tells about their life there and also tells the stories of the people they live among. A quote from USA Today: "If you like the stories on Prarie Home Companion or Northern Exposure, you'll love some real news from small-town Alaska." You can go to the Haines, Alaska website to get a visual picture of the places Heather describes. Pretty amazing!
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This warm and engaging read is like sitting down for a nice cup of coffee with Lende. It meanders, but in a pleasant fashion, and you come away feeling like you know Haines and its people. I'd like to visit there someday!
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Wonderful non-fiction about a woman and her family living in Alaska. She writes the obituaries for the local paper and in this small town that means sitting down with the recently bereaved. This is a love story to the small town of Haines, Alaska. The many offbeat characters that make their home in Alaska co-exist with the Natives. Lende deals with the normal family issues and searches for reason when tragedy strikes.Both this book and "Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs" her latest, are full of heart, hope and the beauty of the wilderness Lende shares with her family and friends.
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