Synopses & Reviews
Day One, and already she was lying in her journal. It was 1993, Suzanne Roberts had just finished college, and when her friend suggested they hike Californiaandrsquo;s John Muir Trail, the adventure sounded like the perfect distraction from a difficult home life and thoughts about the future. But she never imagined that the twenty-eight-day hike would change her life. Part memoir, part nature writing, part travelogue, Almost Somewhere is Robertsandrsquo;s account of that hike.
John Muir had written of the Sierra Nevada as a andldquo;vast range of light,andrdquo; and this was exactly what Roberts was looking for. But traveling with two girlfriends, one experienced and unflappable and the other inexperienced and bulimic, she quickly discovered that she needed a new frame of reference. Her story of a month in the backcountryandmdash;confronting bears, snowy passes, broken equipment, injuries, and strange menandmdash;is as much about finding a womanandrsquo;s way into outdoor experience as it is about the natural world she so eloquently describes. Candid and funny and, finally, wise, Almost Somewhere is not just the whimsical coming-of-age story of a young woman ill-prepared for a month in the mountains but also the reflection of a distinctly feminine view of nature.and#160; and#160;
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Tamsen Donner. For most the name conjures the ill-fated Donner party trapped in the snows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1846-47. Others might know Tamsen as the stoic pioneer woman who saw her children to safety but stayed with her dying husband at the cost of her own life. For Gabrielle Burton, Tamsen's story, fascinating in its own right, had long seemed something more: the story of a woman's life writ large, one whose impossible balancing of self, motherhood, and marriage spoke to Burton's own experience.
This book tells of Burton's search to solve the mystery of Tamsen Donner for herself. A graceful mingling of history and memoir, Searching for Tamsen Donner follows Burton and her husband, with their five daughters, on her journey along Tamsen's path. From Tamsen's birthplace in Massachusetts to North Carolina, where she lost her first family in the space of three months; to Illinois, where she married George Donner; and finally to the fateful Oregon Trail, Burton recovers one woman's compelling history through a modern-day family's adventure into realms of ultimately timeless experiences. Here Burton has collected and published together for the first time, all seventeen of Tamsen's known letters.
About the Author
Gabrielle Burton is a writer whose numerous projects include the film Manna from Heaven, which she wrote and produced, and the novel Heartbreak Hotel. Most recently, she authored a novel she imagined as Tamsen Donners journal, Impatient with Desire: The Lost Journal of Tamsen Donner. Burtons writing has also appeared in publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. She lives in Venice, California.