I loved this story so much more than I thought it would. It was a random recommendation from my dad, and then Amy read it first and I finally got to i...moreI loved this story so much more than I thought it would. It was a random recommendation from my dad, and then Amy read it first and I finally got to it quite a bit later, just because. For no good reason.
And I am lucky for doing so. Kiyo's tale is about family. There is history, much of the Japanese internment and Japanese-American relations (or lack thereof) in the 20th century. There is farming and hard work, the American dream perched on the backs of industrious and persistent immigrants, people with dedication, loyalty, and love--to their families, their dogs, their newly adopted nation, to any spot of land that could be called theirs.
More than inspiring. I felt encouraged to work harder, love deeper, and experience fuller. I will be a better father, tell my children more stories, work and play with them more. (Kiyo's mother and father were apparently some of the truest saints in this world.)
I finished this at 3:30 am, weeping. That's a little hard to admit, maybe, but I felt such a deep appreciation for people and family and love, life and living it. Potential. History under the asphalt, history for every person living or dead, told and untold, remembered and forgotten. This book is a gift to Kiyo's family. It's a history of good people, the best. I want to visit the very few remnants of their family farm near Mather Field, maybe find one of those long-abandoned almond trees in the high weedy grass and just sit under it, put my hands in the fallow red soil that was once turned fecund by the toils of gentle souls.(less)
This is a wonderful story. Inspiring and awful, historical and hardly believable. Louie's life story makes my own life feel simple, easy and carefree...moreThis is a wonderful story. Inspiring and awful, historical and hardly believable. Louie's life story makes my own life feel simple, easy and carefree in comparison. The things he had to live through and overcome are difficult to fathom. But, his attitude and determination and character make him so relatable, a real person living through real difficulty, not always making the right choice, but doing what he thinks is best.
I love Laura Hillenbrand's DEEPLY researched, cited and notated style of writing. You read this book knowing that every sentence is accurate (also because of the very thorough notations), and that she knows not just the facts but the context. She is a true storyteller and historian. She still builds the suspense, develops characters and tells a story, but it is all true to life. A fantastic read.(less)
A fantastic little piece of Colorado River (and San Juan River) literature. Nancy Nelson has ton an amazing amount of in-depth research, tracking down...moreA fantastic little piece of Colorado River (and San Juan River) literature. Nancy Nelson has ton an amazing amount of in-depth research, tracking down and personally interviewing the people who worked with Norman Nevills, reading their personal diaries and accounts from the time (many of them in journalistic form but never published), and perusing publication archives and old photographs.
It reads a little dry sometimes, but it's a great collection of river-running stories, and the Nevills history woven within, telling of the inception of Nevills Expeditions, the true beginning of whitewater river running throughout the southwest.
I found that the related tales of boating down the old Glen Canyon--the Glen Canyon that no one in the 1950s and 1960s knew well enough to try and save--are heartbreaking. Herbert E. Gregory Natural Bridge, Redbud Canyon, Mystery Canyon, Forbidden Canyon, and many many other beautiful splendors are now hidden under Lake Powell's waters (though recent lower levels at the reservoir have reexposed some of these, including Gregory Bridge). Nelson's book has helped revitalize my conservationist spirit. I haven't seen a much more well-laid out set of stories that touch on these lost beauties (including Edward Abbey).
I am now inspired to yell "Yogi!" as I being rafting or kayaking (or hiking or jumping into a water hole, for that matter). Yogi is the Navajo story for the origin of the Colorado River. I also want to always refer to the San Juan as "the river gone mad" (translation of the Navajo's name for it). And I would still love to see Rainbow Bridge (mainly by hiking to it), and the now-secret Elves Chasm caves.
If you can find this book, don't pass it up! A sweet little rarity to treasure (as I do). You will long for whitewater even harder--and especially for handmade box boats and the glory days when the rivers were truly yours and yours alone.(less)