Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Death on the Barrens

George James Grinnell

In 1955, six young men set off with Art Moffatt, an experienced wilderness canoeist, on a daring canoe expedition through the remote Arctic region of Northern Canada.  With youthful energy and a naive sense of adventure, the group was not prepared for what they would encounter in this forbidden landscape.  When the crew is swept over a waterfall, Moffatt is killed and most of the gear and emergency food supplies destroyed.  Facing freezing conditions and starvation, the remaining crew barely manages to make it out of the Barrens alive.  Grinnell present an insightful, personal account of the harrowing voyage that changed his life and chronicles his lifelong struggle to find meaning in the midst of tragedy and despair.

My Take:  
Death on the Barrens is not a light read by any means.  It is wrought with sadness, frustration, and despair.  Although strangely enough, despite all of the obstacles in the book, the absolute honesty of the author shines through providing a tiny little ray of hope in his bleak world.  We follow him on his ill fated trip in the Canadian far north, and through his ill fated life afterward.  As we follow him on these journeys, we are given a glimpse into the life of a man who may not be the most likable person, but certainly relatable.  His absolute honesty struck me so hard.  He wasn't afraid to tell it like it was, about himself, and his expedition mates.  As a rebellious, and self righteous youth, he figured this expedition would bring him fame, and bring out the best of him.  As the going got tough, he was 100% honest about his failed courage.  Here is an excerpt from Death on the Barrens, which I think properly illustrates the author's insight.
"The heroic acts of courage we had imagined were not proving to be the reality.  Instead, we discovered clouds of black flies on the portages, irritation with one another, and pettiness in ourselves.  This was not the stuff of epic poems to be sung through the ages, celebrating our everlasting glory.  Better to write nothing at all than to tell the truth about this expedition."
Aside from the appeal of the brutal honestly contained within the pages, the book was filled with beautiful watercolors, and vivid descriptions of the haunting beauty of the barrens.  Death on the Barrens is beautifully written, and aside from a few places which I felt dragged a bit, this book will keep you interested until the very end.  Because of this, I rate this book a 2, Borders with a Coupon.

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie, it would likely be rated PG-13 for brief but relatively strong language throughout.



**FTC Disclosure: The publisher of Death on the Barrens provided me with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was given, all opinions are my own**

If you are interested in purchasing Death on the Barrens, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!

25 comments:

MommyReview.com said...

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mommyreview.com

Doreen McGettigan said...

I like your review style and hope when my book come out you will do a review for me!

Tea said...

I tweeted from you to Topazshell, me, on Twitter.

Tea said...

I would love to win and read Death on The Barrens.

teakettle58(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tea said...

I have your button on my blog.

Tea said...

I wouldn't mind reading Fireworks Over Tacoca.

debbie said...

I am a gfc follower.
debbie
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I really like your rating system. It describes exactly how I rate the books I read.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Tina Peterson said...

Mandatory: I love to read and I really like the variety of books on your site and the reviews you write are honest and not sugar coated.

I'm following your from MBC and would love to have you follow me if you aren't already. (I think you are tho) I do have a Facebook page and you are welcome to friend me there and post a link to your blog in the discussions area under Blog Roll. I know my followers will love you!

Tina "The Book Lady"
http://www.familyliteracyandyou.blogspot.com
FB: http://tiny.cc/55wuc
TW: http://www.twitter.com/familyliteracy

Tina Peterson said...

I am following you on Twitter & "tweeted" for your giveaway:

New review and giveaway! Death on the Barrens: http://thebookbuff.blogspot.com/2010/06/death-on-barrens-plus-giveaway.html

http://twitter.com/familyliteracy/status/16056404743

Tina "The Book Lady"
http://www.familyliteracyandyou.blogspot.com
TW: http://www.twitter.com/familyliteracy

A Musing Mother said...

Did I mention I'm a follower?

A Musing Mother said...

Sure. I'll read a depressing book. I read "Into Thin Air."

Frankly, I love your fresh reviews. Nothing canned about them. Keep it up.

sharon54220 said...

I am also a follower.

sharon54220@gmail.com

sharon54220 said...

I love everything about your blog. You have great reviews. You are making my list of books to read longer. This is also my type of book.

Thanks for the chance.

sharon54220@gmail.com

skkorman said...

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skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Jeff said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I love your site! I love your rating system!

jeffintennessee at gmail dot com

Autumn said...

I became a follower!

Autumn said...

I like that your blog is clean and uncluttered and easy to read. I'm very interested in reading the book you're giving away!

mimilovesall8 said...

I love ,love ,love to read! This book seems like it would hold my attention pretty good!
Love your blog!
mimilovesall8@yahoo.com

mimilovesall8 said...

I follow your blog! thanks, mimilovesall8@yahoo.com

mimilovesall8 said...

I followed you on Twitter ! thanks, mimilovesall8@yahoo.com

mimilovesall8 said...

I tweeted : tomorrow is the last day for giveaway, DEATH ON THE BARRENS http://thebookbuff.blogspot.com/2010/06/death-on-barrens-plus-giveaway @anderson48
thanks,mimilovesall8@yahoo.com

mimilovesall8 said...

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I shared a comment about your blog on my Facebook! thanks, mimilovesall8@yahoo.com

Lynette said...

Hi - I am a new visitor to your site. Please enter me - I'd love to win & read the book!

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