Book Review: Braving It



Braving It

I’ve just finished reading James Campbell’s new autobiography, Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild, and am so incredibly excited to be reviewing this outstanding novel!  Campbell wows and amazes with his account of three separate trips to Alaska with his fifteen year old daughter, Aidan. Anyone that knows me well, knows that it has always been a dream of mine to visit Alaska, and also that I am 100% daddy’s girl, therefore, I couldn’t wait to read and review this book.

Over the course of one year, Jim and Aidan  leave Wisconsin behind for three very different trips to Alaska.  Their first adventure was during the summer months where they helped Jim’s cousin, Heimo, build his new cabin on the Coleen River. The second trip was in November, to visit with Heimo and his wife Edna, as well as, help with hunting and trapping.  The final trip was again in summer, where Jim and Aidan hiked and paddled the Hulahula River with Jim’s friends Dave and Chris. Several things amazed me about each of these trips in so many ways.  First, was the enormous about of preparation and training for each of their visits. Whether it was learning to skin and gut game, whitewater paddling lessons, or endless examinations of maps – each trip took a huge amount of planning and discussion.  Secondly, and most impressive, was Aidan’s determination and strength on each of their trips.  She wanted to learn how to do everything, and pitched in with everything. If this account is accurate regarding her tiny amounts of frustration and pouting, then it’s truly amazing.  During each of the trips she encountered scary things and gross things, got cold, hot, wet, and learned countless survival skills.  Another amazing thing about this novel is all that I learned about Alaska.  I have read countless books and magazines about Alaska or watched television shows about Alaska, but I learned something new about Alaska (or some sort of sport or survival skill) on practically every page of this novel.  My husband has had the opportunity to go to Alaska, so every time he would come outside to sit down with me while I was reading, I would start asking him, “did you know this? ” or “can I tell you about this part?” prompting several discussions about Alaska and his time there.

Braving It… is a difficult book to categorize.  Obviously, it’s an autobiography, but it could also be classified under travel, outdoors, sports, wildlife and game, Alaskan history, and so on. So much thought and information was put into this novel, it will just blow your mind. What I loved most though, was the fact that Campbell did these three expeditions with his teenage daughter, allowing her to experience things that most people only dream of. Furthermore, it appears that he is instilled a love of nature and exploring in Aidan, and his younger daughters too.  Some of my best memories in my life involve my Dad, and there are tons of them that involved the outdoors in some way.  If I remember correctly, I went on my first picnic in the mountains of Asheville, NC when I was only about a month old, so he has also instilled the love of nature and wanderlust within me. This novel is an incredible account of a young girl overcoming obstacles and embracing new experiences, it’s about the bonds between a father and daughter, and it details the beauty, risks, and rewards of the Alaskan wild.

Want to know more about the author?  Visit:

*I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


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