Synopses & Reviews
After meeting at a boatman's bash on the Snake River, river runners Maddy and Dalt embark on a lifelong love affair. They marry on the banks of the Buffalo Fork, sure they'll live there the rest of their days. Forced by the economics of tourism to leave Wyoming, they start a new adventure, opening their own river business in Ashland, Oregon: Halfmoon Whitewater. They prosper there, leading rafting trips and guiding fishermen into the wilds of Mongolia and Russia. But when Maddy, laid low by dizzy spells, with a mono that isn't quite mono, both discovers she is pregnant and is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they realize their adventure is just beginning.
Navigating hazards that dwarf any of the rapids they've faced together, Maddy narrates her life with Dalt the way she lives it: undaunted, courageous, in the present tense. Driven by her irresistible voice, full of wit and humor and defiance, If Not For This is a love story like no other.
"Fromm's latest novel (after As Cool As I Am) is a remarkable depiction of the effects of multiple sclerosis on a young woman and her husband. Maddy and Dalt meet while working for white-water rafting companies in Wyoming, and fall headlong in love. Eventually, they get married, on a riverbank, and embark on a life together that seems almost charmed: 'We've not just tied our two lives together, we've cast off the rest of the world.' The two start their own rafting company, which thrives, and all seems golden. But then Maddy gets an unexplained dizzy spell, and, soon thereafter, they think she has mono 'mono that doesn't seem to be mono.' Then Maddy, once a vigorous outdoorswoman, is diagnosed with MS, and the heart of the book depicts Maddy and Dalt's life with MS as an unwelcome third party. The descriptions of Maddy's illness the exhaustion, the fear, and the day-to-day work that a degenerative disease occasions are closely observed and heartbreakingly realistic. Maddy and Dalt's story feels true from the first page to the last." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
If Not For This is a terrific novel, poignant as hell, but feisty, funny, and romantic, too. Pete Fromm is a powerful, lucid writer, a perfect guide to the unpredictable rivers and people of the interior West, to their deep channels and breathtaking turns.” Jess Walter
Here, brave and unabashed, is a novel about love, two sweet droll people who become a family, and then brave and unabashed real trouble magnifies everything. In If Not For This, Pete Fromm brings us a rich, deeply felt book, so full of kindness and kind people that its an absolute phenomenon.” Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine
About the Author
Pete Fromm is a four-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Literary Award for the novels As Cool As I Am
and How All This Started
, a story collection, Dry Rain
, and a memoir, Indian Creek Chronicles
. His new novel is If Not For This
. The film version of As Cool As I Am
, starring Claire Danes, James Marsden, and Sarah Bolger, was released in June of 2013. He is the author of four other short story collections and has published over two hundred stories in magazines. A core faculty member at Pacific Universitys Low Residency MFA Program, he has a degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana and worked for years as a river ranger in Grand Teton National Park. He lives with his family in Montana, where he can often be seen walking underneath his canoe to the river.