“[Leigh] Newman has crafted a vivid exploration of a broken family. . . . Her pain will resonate strongly with readers, and she vividly brings both Alaska and Maryland to life. . . . A natural for book clubs.”—Booklist
“Newman’s adult search for her own true home is riveting, as are her worldwide adventures; it’s a joy to be in on the ride.”—Reader’s Digest
“What really sets this fearless memoir apart is the heartfelt, riotously funning writing, which will have you reading passages aloud, and rooting for Newman all the way.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Newman writes so lucidly about bewilderment, so honestly about self-deception, so courageously about fear, so compassionately about insensitivity, so hilariously about suffering and loss. Still Points North is a remarkable book: a travel memoir of the mapless, dangerous seas and territories between childhood and adulthood.”—Karen Russell, Pulitzer Prize finalist for Swamplandia!
“A wise, refreshing and enjoyable read.”—New York Daily News
“[Newman is] at her best bringing to life the chapters on her near-feral Alaskan upbringing. You can practically smell the freshly killed game.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Still Points North begins in the remote woods of Alaska and then travels around the world and back again, following the adventures of a girl adrift. Newman navigates her way through these vividly written pages with the strength and skill of a river guide, always keeping her bearings. And, like the salmon she and her father fish for in the wilderness, Newman makes her way past the traps and rapids of life to find her way back home.”—Hannah Tinti, bestselling author of The Good Thief
“At once harrowing and tender-hearted, Still Points North illuminates the power of domestic discord to become a literal struggle for survival, brilliantly drawing a picture of a child tumbling through her family’s dissolution as she struggles to make sense of what family means.”—A. M. Homes, bestselling author of The Mistress’s Daughter
“Still Points North features a heroine as intrepid as you’ll find in any adventure story, which makes sense, since her parents’ divorce left her stranded on that desert island we call a lonely childhood. But this memoir isn’t so much about what wasn’t supplied as what was. Newman’s story is a testament to passion, the ethic of self-reliance, and the capacity for joy that her parents did share.”—Jim Shepard, author of You Think That’s Bad
Deputy editor and head of books coverage at Oprah.com, Newman reports on a childhood in Alaska staring down bears and an adulthood spent staring down Mafia bosses in Russia. The upshot, she finds, is an almost defiant self-reliance—and an inability to open up to others. This memoir could change all that.
Oprah.com deputy editor Newman looks back on her life, from her childhood in Alaska to her family life in New York. The author's parents divorced when she was young, and she spent the school months with her mother in Baltimore, Md., and her summers with her father and his new family in Alaska. After she graduated from college, Newman landed a job at a travel magazine that allowed her to take trips to Europe while keeping a small apartment in New York. The author expresses many thoughts about her relationship with her husband but more importantly, with her parents--her mother was a struggling single mother with three jobs who appeared to have mental or emotional imbalances, and her father was a hunter and fisherman, a lover of wildlife survival and outdoor activities. Newman expresses resentment toward her mother due to her odd behavior and toward her father for being temperamental. Her relationship with both of them, however, is mostly predictable and doesn't make for exciting reading; the same is true of her relationship with her husband, whom she left for a period because, as she repeats often, she was uncomfortable with commitment. She told him they should just stay married without saying much about the emotions that led to that moment. Her story and musings about why they got back together are not convincing or entertaining. The most interesting part of the book occurs at the beginning, in which the author describes outdoor life in Alaska. The subtitle is exaggerated. Other than the setting, Newman's story is fairly average.