Raised in Ruins by Tara Neilson

A childhood in the Alaskan wilderness

My rating:  3 out of 5

This is a great book of childhood memories of the author living with her family in the wilderness of Alaska.  The advantages and disadvantages, mostly from a child’s perspective.

Tara’s Neilson’s parents moved from a small town in East Alaska to the wilderness a few hours down river when Tara was very young.  In this memoir she tells of her and her family’s life, living in close proximity to bears and wolves.  How they were educated, food supplies, how they maintained some contact with the wider world etc.  We learn of how they passed their days and evenings, and how imagination enables them to thrive in such a remote place.   The importance of the family acting as a team, despite their differences, to enable survival was fascinating, and they even built a house just using the skills, and strengths, they had between them. 

Chapters are divided up into sections which make for an easy read, and the photos included are great to help visualise their world.  The writing is clear and easy to follow, and does not hesitate to talk about the sad times, as well as plenty of fun times. 

3*s from me as this was an interesting read, and I enjoyed the snapshots we were given into a childhood so different to mine.  However I wish there had been more everyday detail, perhaps more perspectives from an adults viewpoint, on dealing with the cold and the dangers so I could have formed a better picture in my mind of the practicalities, and concerns as well as the (seemingly) carefree life of the children. 

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