Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heroes of the Frontier” as Want to Read:
Heroes of the Frontier
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Heroes of the Frontier

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  12,166 ratings  ·  1,476 reviews
A captivating, often hilarious novel of family, loss, wilderness, and the curse of a violent America, Dave Eggers's Heroes of the Frontier is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure.

Josie and her children's father have split up, she's been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she's grieving the death of a youn
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by Knopf Publishing Group
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Heroes of the Frontier, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Megan Agreed. Alaska is a particularly particular landscape within the US, and a character in its own right in the book. The place is completely misconstrue…moreAgreed. Alaska is a particularly particular landscape within the US, and a character in its own right in the book. The place is completely misconstrued... from the more basic details to the overall feel of the place, it's so wrong that it is distracting. It would be like ascribing a Mediterranean feel to Austria. It is THAT wrong. (less)
Jeremy Cherfas She didn't strike me as either profound or a fool, just a very normal woman who had made some bad choices and some good ones and was trying to deal wi…moreShe didn't strike me as either profound or a fool, just a very normal woman who had made some bad choices and some good ones and was trying to deal with how things were working out. She does have a tendency to overthink when it is of no consequence and to underthink when it matters, but I think that's part of who she is.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,166 ratings  ·  1,476 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Heroes of the Frontier
Elyse  Walters
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Being the Dave Eggers fan I am, I started reading this book shortly after it arrived on my Kindle at midnight last night - from a pre-order many months prior.
Immediately, my thoughts were "I'm so happy"!!! "Oh....I'm enjoying this"...."Damn, this is good....I'm so excited!!!!!" "It's good, it's good! It's GOOD!!!!!

The surroundings - geography - wilderness - environment as the backdrop of this story is entrancing.

Josie has just arrived in Anchorage, Alaska with her two children, Paul and Ana.
Joachim Stoop
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is Dave Eggers free of limits and boundaries: free of the facts in What is the what and Zeitoun, free of the specific story settings in The Circle and A hologram for the king, free of his own biography in AHWOSG. This is a beautiful, endearing, outrageous Eggers.

This book is...

... a lesson in how to write a novel.
... yet again about an American, dysfunctional small town family, but it leaves the competition far behind
… one on which publishers should put a sticker with the warning: 'wil
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The novel is a slapdash, picaresque adventure and spiritual coming-of-age tale — “On the Road” crossed with “Henderson the Rain King” with some nods to “National Lampoon’s Vacation” along the way. It’s not as moving as “Hologram” and hardly as bravura a performance as the author’s stunning debut, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” but Mr. Eggers has so mastered the art of old-fashioned, straight-ahead storytelling here that the reader quickly becomes immersed in Josie’s funny-sad tale ...more
Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett
Let me start by saying I've liked some of Dave Eggers's work. I read AHWOSG the week it was released. I thoroughly enjoyed You Shall Know Our Velocity. The Circle was okay. Zeitoun was excellent. So I'm familiar with his oeuvre.

But a problem that began rearing its head in the Circle has metastasized in Heroes of the Frontier: Eggers CANNOT write believable characters.

I will provide you some examples. Sadly, there are flashes of Eggers's creativity in his prose. For instance, the first time he
Jonille Shepherd
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Can't actually say I read the whole book. I really wanted to love this book because I did this! I divorced, took my daughter and ran away to Alaska, by car and tent- with a pod on the roof of my Datsun full of things to start life over again. I suppose I wanted it to be about my adventures, which were very different. I wanted her to find what I did in Alaska and she just had to much baggage which she couldn't seem to get over. Oh well, guess I will just have to write my own book. ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a strange novel. Josie is a single mom who stumbles across Alaska with her two adorable children escaping her sad life. She's the only dentist I can think of in literature. Josie is a mess -drinks too much, puts her children in danger and is full of self pity and guilt. But I liked her anyway- probably because she has wonderfully lovable, wise children and knows it. Their journey is an improvisation - as is the novel. I liked it! ...more
Brandon Forsyth
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A woman, utterly lost and searching for purpose, takes her two children on a road trip through the untamed wilderness of Alaska in Dave Eggers' new novel. Eggers' return to prose is an entirely welcome one, after the fascinating dialogue-driven experiment of his last book, YOUR FATHERS, WHERE ARE THEY? AND THE PROPHETS, DO THEY LIVE FOREVER? (which has to be the longest and least-commercial title in existence). I am a bit of an Eggers fanboy (for all its faults, I loved YOUR FATHERS, and I'm a c ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I won this book in the Goodreads contest.
I really wanted to love this book, the premise was full of drama and heartache and the idea of being able to find yourself even with a hectic and insane life happening at the same time. I started this book, and found I just couldn't connect with the protagonist. I stopped and read two other books in between and then finish this book just today. I felt like Josie had a lot going on, and probably more than most people...but she was all over the place. She
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

Not the worst guest house shelving I've seen. Pretty good even. I can't say I've ever been tempted by Shantaram but it could probably be worse. There's Mo Yan there which I was this close to picking up. There's a Tom Robbins which I'd not touch with a ten foot pole unless it be about 8 degrees below zero and I needed to warm the room.... The Eggers, which was my choice. Cheryl Strayed? probably not but maybe for some other folks. There's a Jack London novel I've got to admit I'd never heard of.
May 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fundamentally plotless and meandering Heroes of the Frontier details Josie's escape from contemporary American life to Alaska with her two children. The book slowly reveals what she is running from and offers commentary on how we live our lives today. I was bored senseless throughout the book and kind of can't believe Eggers wrote it. I've read every book he's written and this is certainly my least favourite. He seemed to want to say something about contemporary life and forced it into a roadtri ...more
Emily Graham
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wtb, favorites, fiction
Probably something I would have liked less if I didn't also want to rent an RV and flee to Alaska ...more
Aug 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is the third book about Alaska I've read this summer, and it's definitely the worst. Do you want a seemingly endless litany of how expensive groceries and white wine and gas are, alongside an unlikable protagonist who makes poor life choices and is often an irresponsible parent? Do you like that feeling of being on a road trip when you don't know where you are and you don't know how much longer the ride will last? Check it. ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a slow burner about a dentist and her two kids who run away to Alaska. Plot-wise it's pretty episodic - going from one place to another, one adventure to another - so it's not particularly gripping in a what-happens-next sense, but it's compelling in its writing and it's characters. I loved these characters! They were all so real and believable! Josie (the mom/dentist) with a traumatic past, strong, brave and flawed, her two children - eight year old Paul, kind, sensible and stoic, and t ...more
I got about a quarter of the way in and decided I didn't care about this story of a woman who flees to the Alaska highway with her two children. By the time I'd read that many pages, I feel like I should have had a sense of who she was and why she was doing what she was doing, and it all seemed so random and arbitrary. I loved What is the What SO much, and I enjoyed Zeitoun and A Heartbreaking Memoir with an Unwieldy Title, as well, and I sort of want to tell Dave Eggers that he does better with ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I wish I could give negative stars. This was a piece of shit. The characters were shit. The plot was shit. The writing was shit. I finished this only so that I could properly say I read the whole thing and it NEVER GOT BETTER.
Judy Colprubin
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
FIrst, kudos to Eggers for getting inside the head of a woman. This is a beautiful story about a single mother, who has made mistakes in love and work (like all of us), going on a metaphoric and literal journey with her two young children. The venue is Alaska, the only place in the U.S. that can still be considered a frontier, that we think of as breathtakingly wild, but is, as Eggers describes it, also run down and mundane. The beauty of being inside Josie's head is that she's commonplace enoug ...more
Mal Warwick
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: trade-fiction
Dave Eggers’ latest novel, Heroes of the Frontier, was disappointing. It’s well written, of course. Eggers is a supremely talented writer, and he has won a very long list of literary awards, including a Pulitzer for Nonfiction. He has written books that I found to be excellent. I especially enjoyed Zeitoun (nonfiction) and What Is the What (a novel). A Hologram for the King, not so much.

I’m aware that these views are dramatically different from those of many other reviewers. So be it.

No heroes o
Aug 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I love Dave Eggers writing, his humor and observations, his telling details. This one was a little long, though. I like big books (and small books) but there were scenes, esp. in the 2nd half, that just went on and on and I found myself skimming and by the end, what really happened, what really changed with the main character? Not much, actually. So, four stars for the writing. The overall story, three stars. I loved A Hologram for the King, The Parade, and liked a lot The Circle, but this one, ...more
Chris Pavone
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book! I can't remember the last time I heard a more true sounding voice coming off the page, so distinct and cohesive and engaging and hilarious. Plus as a stay-at-home parent I have a special degree of admiration for tales of unhinged parents (see especially Maria Semple's most recent two novels), and Josie is one of the most unhinged I've ever encountered. ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read! A sometimes slightly disturbing look at grieving while parenting and helping children make find themselves. I really enjoyed this story and the gorgeous scenery and descriptions of encounters with different types of people. Can't wait to discuss it at book club to hear other perspectives. ...more
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tanja Berg
I first wanted to read this because the author was Dave Eggers and I really enjoyed "the Circle". Then the ratings on goodreads were quite poor, so I decided against it. Then I thought, "Oh, but it's Dave Eggers!" and bought it. I should have stuck with my initial resolve not to read it.

Josie is on the run in Alaska, in a hired RV, with her two children. She has left her disentgrated life as a dentist behind and is trying to escape her grating conscience. Eventually we get more insight into the
This book was great! I had zero expectations going in and found myself quickly packed up and dragged along with Josie, Paul and Ana as they crisscrossed Alaska in an ancient Chateau RV that refused to chug faster than 47 mph. The road trip aspect of this book wouldn't have been as fun/kooky/fascinating if it had involved any other family. Each character in Heroes of the Frontier is depicted to perfection . I absolutely adored them all, especially the children - 8-year-old Paul and 5-year-old ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sweet and weird and funny. Meandering and epiphanic. Alaskan-set. Anything else? I loved how unpredictable the book was, in terms of both the "plot," such as it was, and the things that came out of the thoughts and minds of the main character Josie, who's a kind of everywoman fucked-up dentist on the run with her two kids, Ana and Paul. All three characters very fully formed as people. I thought about them a lot even when I wasn't reading, and when I was reading I laughed out loud several times, ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Even loose, sloppy Dave Eggers is still interesting, but as a mom, I had a hard time reading about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown setting off for Alaska with two young kids and no plan, especially when Eggers emphasizes repeatedly that the younger one is drawn to danger. So I read the whole book waiting for catastrophe to occur. Also felt irritated by a few gratuitously gross bits early on (why, Dave, why?), and bored with some of Dave's patented rants about Modern Life, even though ...more
I like Dave Eggers, but I'm not sure what was going on with this book. I'm far from a helicopter mom, but I read this slightly panicked, at all times. The kids were alright at the end of the book, but that is no thanks to Josie. Besides, there's always the next day. Eggers' prose is still gorgeous, and at no time did I feel like putting the book down. I don't also mind reading about losers per se, but there's something terrible about losers with trusting kids in tow. So no. Not for me. ...more
I didn't have enough of Alaska after To The Bright Edge of the World. I wanted to stay a while longer in the cold majestic regions of the north so ”Heroes of the frontier” seemed an obvious choice.

Perhaps the comparison is not fair and my expectations were just not realistic but I can not help reflecting on the light years that separate the lovely, eloquent, pensive, journals of Allen and Sofie, from the story of one immature Josy, irresponsible beyond imagination, running from obligations and
missy jean
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've barely read books this fall. Too much work and debilitating existential angst, you know the drill. But this was the right book to come back to, for me, after two months without fiction, because it's about the way things are counterbalanced on each other: the terror and thrill of the wilderness, the dreariness and comfort of the known boundaries of the world, the way everything is a trade-off for something else. And it captures better than most books the anxious knife-edge of parenting, the ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hard to put this one down --finished it in only a couple of days and I work full time!

A mother "kidnaps" her two young children and takes them from Ohio to Alaska where she rents a decrepit motorhome and drives them across the wilderness searching for meaning, forgiveness and love. The details of the journey are startling, shocking and wonderful by turns. Eggers has done it again! Another heartbreaking work of staggering genius! Read it! You'll be glad you did.
Jim Nail
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Dave Eggers takes the point of view of a woman here, a mixed-up, very human character who makes a lot of bad choices and somehow they propel her toward a greater understanding of the mystery of life. Josie, approaching 40, reeling from a bad marriage and a dental practice destroyed by malpractice suits. slides off the grid and disappears into the Alaskan wilderness with her two children.
For the first 100 pages or so I was pretty bored. Nothing seems to happen and there isn't much explanation for
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Confrontaties
  • De stem
  • Bewaar de zomer
  • Bronte (Bocas Trilogy #2)
  • Bolinas (Bocas Trilogy Book 3)
  • Bocas
  • Fwiet! Fwiet! De passie van het vogelkijken
  • Il valore affettivo
  • The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay
  • De Ottomaanse herder
  • De opgang
  • Ik ben er niet
  • We Were All Someone Else Yesterday
  • Samen Al t’hope
  • Pretty Paper
  • The Four Worlds of Bertie Cavendish
  • The Camping Life: Inspiration and Ideas for Endless Adventures
  • Die Australierin
See similar books…
Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly ...more

Related Articles

  Walter Isaacson, it’s safe to say, is not afraid of tackling the really big topics. In 2011, he wrote about our ubiquitous computer culture...
105 likes · 20 comments
“She was done, gone. She had been comfortable, and comfort is the death of the soul, which is by nature searching, insistent, unsatisfied. This dissatisfaction drives the soul to leave, to get lost, to be lost, to struggle and adapt. And adaptation is growth, and growth is life. A human’s choice is either to see new things, mountains, waterfalls, deadly storms and seas and volcanoes, or to see the same man-made things endlessly reconfigured.” 5 likes
“The easiest way to witness the stupidity and misplaced hopes of humanity is to watch, for twenty minutes, a human using a leaf blower. With this machine, the man was saying, I will murder all quiet. I will destroy the aural plane. And I will do so with a machine that performs a task far less efficiently than I could with a rake.” 3 likes
More quotes…