In her first book, the 1997 Pulitzer finalist In the Wilderness, which is reprised in the first 70 pages of this memoir, Barnes chronicled her idyllic childhood in Idaho's forest country and her special joy and communion with her father in tracking game. Strict adherents to a charismatic evangelical religion, her family accepted without question Barnes's father's decision, taken after locking himself in the root cellar to fast and praying for divine guidance, to leave his job as a logger and move into the mill town of Lewiston in the spring of 1970. Effectively ending Barnes's easy companionship with her father, the move marked the beginning of her adolescence and her entry into a different world, where it seemed sin was everywhere. Barnes found her parents' restrictions unjust and hypocritical, and rebelled with friends who smoked, drank and experimented with sex. When her father refused her permission to attend the senior prom, she struck out on her own with her few belongings, most notably the Winchester 30.06 gun that she treasured as a reminder of happier times with her father. Working as a bank teller, she met an intriguing older man. Although he was enigmatic and withholding, David shared her love of the outdoors and flattered her with his attention. Their story is the focus of this well-crafted memoir, as Barnes explores the complicities of an abusive relationship that eerily echoes the patriarchal domination of family and church she sought to escape. Whether she is recreating the drama of her struggles or conjuring the Idaho wilderness in lyrical passages, Barnes writes beautifully. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000 Release date: 03/01/2000 Genre: Nonfiction
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