October 09, 2011

Looking for Alaska by Peter Jenkins

I had read Peter Jenkin's Walk Across America and really enjoyed it. Because of this, when I saw Looking For Alaska on the shelf, I decided to snap it up. While I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the other, it was still interesting and Jenkins is still a great writer.

Many years from his first book, Walk Across America, Jenkins has almost grown kids of his own and has explored many places of the world and America. His next stop is Alaska. Moving a portion of his family up (with the rest visiting from time to time)he lands in a place called Seward. But while he describes the beat and pulse of Seward, he also travels to many other different areas in Alaska and has some really wild experiences. He takes part in whale hunting, goes above the Arctic Circle, learns how to be a musher, and just travels to a wide variety of little visited places. But this book really isn't about his travel but more about the people of Alaska. And writing people is where Jenkins excels.

Jenkins loves to talk to people and it really shows in his book. He's almost always positive and despite the people being well, people, he writes them in a way that you really admire them despite any flaws. And he talks to so many that each chapter is basically a new story in this book. He talks to all different kinds of people with occupations such as musher, whale hunters, and others. And he gets time to know the Native people and get a glimpse into what their life is like.

His writing is very clear and you really get a sense of the people, if not the places that he's describing. Since he didn't focus too much on actual Alaska the place I was disappointed that more of the scenery wasn't described, but he made up for it in his excellent portrayal of the people. My other complaint would be that it seemed that he might have written this book in pieces and then put it together as numerous times information and facts were repeated just a chapter later than they first appeared. I also wasn't too fond of when he let his daughter write in on some of her experiences as I didn't find her as good a storyteller as her father.

Jenkins also includes many color and black and white photos of his adventures in Alaska and it was nice to put faces to names and see a bit of the area. A very interesting read on Alaska and anyone planning a trip there should definitely check it out.

Looking for Alaska
Copyright 2001
434 pages

No comments:

Post a Comment