cover image The Source of All Things: A Memoir

The Source of All Things: A Memoir

Tracy Ross, Free Press, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4391-7297-1

Journalist and contributing Backpacker magazine editor Ross uses the outdoors to guide her powerful memoir detailing the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather. The germ of her story—which Ross first published in her magazine in 2009—recounts not only the abuse itself but also Ross's unusual resolution to forgive her stepfather, after confronting him (on tape) about the details of the molestation. It began during a family camping trip when Ross's stepfather, Donnie Lee, tucked her in and touched her for the first time when she was eight. Until she was 14 and reported the abuse to a friend who called the police, Lee would often come into Ross's room at night in their Twin Falls, Idaho, house, even though her mother was right down the hall. Though the abuse is a defining moment in her life, it is not the sole focus of her book. She details her love for the natural world—a passion first cultivated by Lee—with stints in New Mexico, Alaska, and Colorado. But it's the return to Redfish Lake with Lee, 30 years after the abuse began there, that is the soul of this compelling story. (Mar.)