Beyond Road's End: Living Free in Alaska

Beyond Road's End: Living Free in Alaska

by Janice Schofield Eaton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780882408484
Publisher: West Margin Press
Publication date: 05/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 391
Sales rank: 1,220,890
File size: 7 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Janice Schofield Eaton is the author of Discovering Wild Plants, and Alaska's Wild Plants.Her third book is a memoir of her almost 30 years of living in Alaska.

Read an Excerpt

"Ed's still in bed. I race in breathless. 'Gone, Ed. The bridge is gone!' 'Don't be rediculous, Jan; it's a brand new bridge. They rebuilt it last week.' 'It's gone, I tell you.' We run to the river crossing, and gawk at the roiling waters."

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Beyond Road's End: Living Free in Alaska 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
lesliecp on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I am always interested in a good story about Alaska. It's a place that holds endless facination for me. Although I enjoyed parts of this book, most of it was a disappointment. I had a difficult time with the writing style, particularly the conversations that had to have occurred years earlier. They felt very forced and stilted. I did enjoy the descriptive parts of the book, including interesting details about homesteading and edible plant life. I also found it difficult to understand why the author left her husband on the spur of the moment for a man she barely knew. I wondered if there was more to the story.
jhhymas on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I enjoyed this book, because I always have had a fantasy of building a cabin and living more simply in a way that is much harder work than I am probably willing to do. The writing is odd, but not bothersomely so, consisting largely of reconstructed dialogue which moves the story along quite rapidly, too rapidly, I think., almost in a Cliff Notes manner. There is material here for several good books and the only one that is very rich in detail is the Alaskan life, and some of the author's study of native food and medicinal plants, and her teaching herself how to write and photograph a publishable book. The plant seminars and teaching story, the New Zealand story and the eventual leaving of Ed while he has a terminal disease, are barely hinted at or skimmed over in the narrative. Much is made of impulses and quasi-spiritual experiences such as fire-walking, which strains credibility and will not serve as a useful model for many people. But, as I say, it was interesting to read.The main problem for me is the lack of a moral center in much of the narrative. The author leaves her own husband in a flash to live with someone who is flying under the regular job, tax, and social security radar to avoid child support. Whatever excuses he has may be good enough, who can say? They move to Alaska. Large parts of their homebuilding in Alaska, involve various fortuituous happenings unlikely to happen to most of us. They are often able to recycle/obtain materials from former failed Alaskan enterprises, both commercial and domestic, in ways unlikely to be available to other who might try this, and who fail to have the social and mechanical skills and talents to move easily into Alaskan local society. Eating herbs, smoking dope, raising cabins, fixing machinery and making practical furniture.
leadmomma on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is the story of a couple who goes way off the grid in Alaska's wilderness. While I enjoyed much of their self-sufficient way of life and their disinterest in the material world, I was dismayed by their personal choices regarding Ed's children and their previous partner's. This would be a great book for someone who is interested in how people can get by on very little, live off the land and homestead. This was not a great book for a single-mom who found Ed's choice to not have a relationship with his children or pay child support heartbreaking and disturbing.
Jaylia3 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book, especially the beginning of it, was gripping. Reading it gave me the vicarious thrill of chucking modern conventions and conveniences to reinvent my life in several gorgeous-sounding Alaskan wilderness areas. Building my own cabin, foraging for food, hiking miles across wildflower-covered fields surrounded by snow-capped mountains--I've done it all . . . er . . . I mean I've read about it all. My only quibble--and this detracted from my experience enough that I gave the book 3 stars instead of 4--was the author's writing style, in particular her use of what had to be made-up dialog, usually between herself and her husband, to move the story along and give the reader background information. Using dialog like this has the effect of shutting us out of her heart and mind, keeping the story on the surface level and the reader at arms length. I'm grateful she shared the details of her adventure, but Schofield doesn't reveal as much as I would like of what she was thinking and feeling during it all.
FionaCat on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was an interesting book. The story itself was fascinating, but I found the writing uneven and sometimes disjointed. It felt like it hadn't been properly edited. That being said, the story of Jan and Ed's journey to Alaska and their adventures living off the land was fun to read.
harpervalley on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was pleased to have been selected as an early reviewer for Beyond Road's End: Living Free in Alaska. As a true "city girl" I went into this book expecting one thing and closed the cover blessed with something entirely different. The story of Jan and Ed's adventure dances from resourceful and educational introduction to edible and medicinal Alaskan plants (and writing a book on the same) to a touching love story where two people set off to capture their collective dream. Throw in some spiritual awareness, political activism, loving and supportive community life and a theme of "what goes around, comes around" and you are treated an enjoyable view of this couple's journey. A great book for those of us who love to live side by side with storytellers as they experience something that enriches their lives. Jan and Ed's passion for Alaska is contagious and sharing it was a beautiful gift to this reader.
alaskabookworm on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Long before Alaska had its first McDonalds, much less a Costco, Janice Schofield Eaton left behind everything she knew in the Lower 48, including her husband, and with a strong intuitive sense headed north to Alaska with her new boyfriend, whom she barely knew. Eventually landing in tiny Homer, Jan and Ed found the literal end of the road. In this small, hearty community, Jan and Ed quickly made friends and connections, which eventually led to their own home. Their house, built entirely by hand, was remote and their lifestyle subsistence-based. They worked as they could, when they could, and eked out an extraordinary life in a time when, in most of the United States, people were becoming more enslaved to consumerism and less self-sufficient. Jan eventually became an expert in northern plants, writing a defining book on edible wild Alaskan plants. ¿Beyond Road¿s End¿ is Jan¿s fulfillment of a vow made during her Alaskan odyssey, and it is a memoir of that journey.Though the story is simply told, and the dialogue at times precious, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and heartfelt story. Living in Alaska myself, I easily connected with Jan¿s description of the place and its people. I was humbled to realize that as much as I love living in the far north, I probably don¿t love it enough to have literally carved a home out of it the way the author did. I know how long the winters are, and how woefully short the growing season, and it seems incredible to me that in a time when they didn¿t have to, Jan and her beau, Ed, lived largely as pioneers. Alaska may be one of the few places, certainly for Americans, where this kind of back-to-nature lifestyle can still be obtained. But Eaton¿s chronicle makes it clear how much work it really is, and there really is no such thing as something for nothing. Her journey is an inspiration to any seeking person who desires to find their true life¿s purpose and inner freedom.For readers who are interested in Alaskana, or the stories of adventurous spirit, of the courage to abandon convention and find one¿s true self, this is a great book to add to the shelf.
dougcornelius on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The author lives an interesting life and can put together interesting stories. The book is a series of stories rather than a coherent narrative.Jan left her husband for Ed, got married, hopped in Ed¿s green van and moved to the Alaskan bush. Ed and Jan didn¿t give it all up to live in the Alaskan bush. They didn¿t have much in New Hampshire. The longer they stayed in Alaska, the more creature comforts they acquired.They have many interesting adventures and meet many characters along the way. Characters in many ways, as you might expect in the Alaskan wilderness.Unfortunately, the author makes the characters seem robotic. She uses forced conversations to carry the narrative. It seems clear that most of the book was written many years after the events took place. I don¿t know why she tries to recreate the conversations that took place. They come across as very flat, artificial and two-dimensional. For me, that ruined the book.I was willing to accept the narrative flaws and loose ends. After all, the book was meant to be autobiographical. Life has narrative flaws and loose ends.Jan insists on filling the narrative with these artificial conversations. The best parts of the book are those where Jan is more of a spectator than a participant. As she tells in the introduction, she is uncomfortable writing about herself. When talking to Ed, ¿I hate writing when we are central characters.¿ That comes across clearly. In the interest of disclosure, the publisher sent me a free copy with hopes that I would review it.
jrbeach on LibraryThing 10 months ago
When I was through reading this book I almost felt like I had finished two books. The first 350 pages (of this review copy) recount the author's arrival and early years in Alaska. At the start of the book the author was living in NH with her husband Gary. very shortly after meeting Ed (who was divorced and living with someone else) they set out for Alaska in Ed's old van. this portion of the book had a very 60's "hippy" feel to it, but when Janice mentioned someone else's cabin with all the modern conveniences, including a shelf of cd's, I realized the timeframe was more recent. The first actual date mention in the book was the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989. After the Valdez incident, the book for the remaining 25 pages chronicles Janice and Ed's involvement in the Alaskan land trust movement.I was much more interested in the story of their adaptation to living in Alaska, and was impressed by their resourcefulness and ability to adapt to a climate and living conditions very different from even their NH background. The subject of Janice's interest and research into foraging for wild edible foodstuffs was a major topic in this book. A Google search shows she has written several well received reference books on the subject.Overall I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the challenges of trying to live a self sufficient lifestyle anywhere, and particularly to anyone with an interest in living in Alaska.Some caveats: I really did not care for the author's style of writing. Too much unnecessary "purple prose" I also felt I never really got to know Janice and Ed very well. There were several loose ends ¿ for example one winter they decide they need a break from the cold and went to New Zealand. On an impulse, they bought property there. There was never any mention after that of New Zealand or traveling out in other winters. A little better editing would have made this a much better book.
eduscapes on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Beyond Road's End is the memoir of a young woman that begins in New Hampshire as she abandons a dead-end marriage and work career to gamble on a new life with Ed. Shortly thereafter Ed and Janice sell out and head to Alaska seeking adventure, freedom, and fulfillment. In a short few years, their story encompasses overcoming adversity, building a homestead, and increasing involvement in conservation efforts for Alaskan land (following the devastation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill). The author also provides details on her development as a writer specializing on wild plants. This Alaskan segment and the book of her life ends with Ed's death from cancer and her subsequent move to another life stage in New Zealand. This is a good read for someone interested learning about living and homesteading in Alaska in the Eighties and the story of a couple's resourcefulness and perseverance. (lj)
acornell on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I both enjoyed and disliked this book. I enjoyed it because Janice Schofield Eaton has an interesting story to tell, and I felt like she was someone who I could sit next to at a dinner party and enjoy hearing tales of adventure living in Alaska for hours. At the end of the dinner party I would tell her, "You really should write this all down. This is a fascinating story with amazing characters." She lived an exciting life as Alaska was coming of age, and she had the thought to capture it and share it. I was interested in how neighborly everyone was and how Janice and Ed became environmental activists after the Exxon Valdez spill. I was interested in how they got along in the wilds, using outhouses and stocking up on provisions for months at a time. I loved that Janice began to know and catalog medicinal herbs. Its a lovely, captivating story. It felt much the same way that the Laura Ingalls Wilder books felt: deep description about how they do things out on the Alaskan frontier (as opposed to the Prairie).My problems with the book mostly have to do with her narrative style. It reads almost like a play-by-play book from someone's journal. The dialogue feels unnatural, and there is little personal reflection, simply a catalog on what they did and when. There were no dates until the oil spill so it felt a little dislocated in time. I kept wondering, when is this going on? I would love to know how native Alaskans like this story. I will also continue to hope to run into Ms Schofield-Eaton at a dinner party someday. Perhaps I will travel to New Zealand...
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Beyond Road's End accomplished a great deal for me. For one, it was a tool of teaching: I learned a great deal about Alaska's environment, both culturally and ecologically. Eaton's straightforward, folksy narrative made the didactic chapters blend with the personal ones smoothly. It was interesting to see how her work with herbal remedies began as a curiosity and then grew into a viable career. Simultaneously, her personal life took the same course. Coming to Alaska from New England opened her eyes to a different way of living, a different way of being.Another Alaskan trait I learned about from reading Eaton's book was the native people's generosity. Every neighbor had a story to tell, a meal to share, and a door they kept open to strangers. Many times throughout Beyond Road's End there was someone there just in the nick of time either with shelter, food, or a helping hand. This giving attitude convinced Eaton to keep her cabin open to strangers while she and partner Ed were away for long periods of time.The one complaint I had was the absence of dates. There was nothing to ground me chronologically until the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I found myself questioning little details like how long after leaving her husband did she take on the adventure of Alaska? Did this story start in the 1970s? Early '80s? I found myself distracted by wondering.
Luciana43 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
In this book, the author describes her life in the '80s in Alaska with her newfound boyfriend. They travel with little money and the intent to live off the land indefinitely. Ed is good with building and other survival issues; Janice eventually becomes an expert on edible and medicinal plants. They become environmental activists on behalf of the Alaskan wilderness before the end of her account.Although the book is teeming with detail about practical matters, there is little feeling of knowing these people or their surroundings. The dialog is stilted, the characters are stiff, their motives are usually unclear, and not much is conveyed about the reality or feeling of living in the Alaskan wilderness. There is little that seems genuine, and not much depth.This independent publisher did a good job with editing and proofreading. The photos, however, are murky and too small.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and enjoyable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The author lives such an adventurous life and you feel part of her adventure reading ths book, you will not be disappointed.