I recently finished Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: Family, Friendships, and Faith in Small-town Alaska by Heather Lende.
Here’s my quick little blurb I left as a review on Goodreads:
Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs is the last message anyone received from the author’s mother before she passed away. After her own near fatal accident, author Heather Lende writes about her thoughts on life and death in small town Alaska.
I loved that this book brought a piece of my home state back to me, Alaska, even though I’ve never been to the southeastern part of the state. Additionally, this book cleared up a mystery for me as to why a large percentage of Alaskan Natives don’t know a lot about their culture. It was interesting to learn that missionaries, most notably the future governor, John Green Brady, worked hard to eliminate the “heathen” cultures. I was happy to hear that some native culture, most notably Tlingit culture survives today.
My favorite lines in the book are where the author is talking about a woman, a resident of Haines, AK named Mimi, who had recently passed away in her tenth decade of life. Mimi’s story is interesting as her husband invested in a closed military base as their new home and Mimi moved to Alaska aboard a steamship with her two children and retired opera singer mother-in-law in 1947. (What a story already before life in Alaska, I bet!)
“Mimi’s story is both whacky and typical of twentieth-century Alaskan pioneers. They were not what you’d expect. It is no doubt as to why Alaskans, especially women, remain so hard to pin to a stereotype.”
Thank you, Heather Lende. God did break the mold when he created Alaskan women and future Alaskan women.
For me, this book was a little trip back home for this transplanted Alaskan girl.