Monday, September 16, 2013

Book review: "Meet Me in Juneau" by Olive Barber

"Meet Me in Juneau" is a friendly memoir about living and working in Southeast Alaska during the 1940s and '50s. While there are only brief moments of real excitement or drama, it is an interesting look at everyday life amid unusual circumstances.

Author Olive Barber spent many a summer in Alaska with her husband, Curly, either fishing or in logging camps, and sampled a wide range of experiences. They lived, at various times, in an isolated cabin far from civilization, onboard their fishing boat, and in camps among rugged lumbermen.

Barber recounts, with amusement, such difficulties as the lack of plumbing, finding and cooking food in primitive surroundings, social isolation, and trying to dry clothes in a place where it rains all the time.

This was not an easy way to live, but Barber seems to put a positive spin on most everything. Even when her husband sold their Alaska home without telling her, she let that go with a laugh.

Barber and her husband toured among isolated bays, islands and inlets, and often found bits of paradise they said were perfect until they found the next place.

There's one point of potentially high drama in the book a particularly perilous boat ride in high seas. But rather than milk the danger of that story, she skips through it in just two pages.

You'll probably enjoy this book most if you have some particular interest in Southeast Alaska. I read it while preparing for a trip there.


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