Katherine Keith | Nonfiction memoir, 2020
Epic Solitude is a memoir by a woman who answers a call to find her purpose, her home, and her soul in the wilds of Alaska. She and her husband build a long cabin miles from a road, in the deep wilderness of Alaska. Alaska calls for so much strength, resiliency, sacrifice, hard work, self-knowledge, and the ability to stay warm ... I cannot even begin to imagine it! At one point, in the "Sheefish" chapter, Kat talks about her clothes, including boots that are three sizes too big, to get all her socks in, four tops, three pairs of long underwear, and mitts that are eight times her hand size so she can add so many layers.
Yes, she takes us on numerous dog-sled races across Alaska and into the Yukon Territory of Canada. And these are fascinating! And the book is much more than her physical adventures as a musher and an “iron-woman.” It is about her development from a young girl and a very troubled teen/young woman, struggling with depression, bulimia, and cutting. The first quarter of the book is hard to read at times, as Kat is really mentally unhealthy. But stick with it .... she does heal herself and grows into an unimaginably strong woman who faces and conquers many hardships in her adult Iife.
My three hearts is because I was looking for a wilderness adventure, and this is more the story of her life, and how the wilderness saves her. In truth, it is probably MORE than I anticipated. With that knowledge, you can begin this book with a clearer expectation of what you are taking on, and perhaps enjoy it at a four-heart level. I do recommend it, with that caveat.