Book Review: Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube


You know how I’m a hot-weather-only girl and I think anything north of Florida is too cold and don’t get me started on being without the sun?

Blair Braverman is my polar (hahaha I’m the only one who thinks that’s funny) opposite. From folk school in Norway to sumer work on a glacier to racing the ACTUAL IDITAROD, Blair has found her passion in the deep cold, and especially in mushing dogs in that cold. Like basically everyone, I found Blair on Twitter through her fantastic story-telling about her dogs and her experiences. And because I’m a book person, I knew I wanted to see what she had written.

I read most of Ice Cube over Christmas and I was impressed with Blair’s lyrical storytelling and compelling honesty. She’s captured the bittersweet experience of being an adventurous woman in the world, someone pursuing her dreams and making painstaking calculations about whether the costs are worth the pay-offs. She was a young woman in male-dominated, sometime lawless environments and I appreciate how open she is about the soul-searching those situations caused, about how triumph and uncertainty live side by side in those spaces.

In the lit communities, there’s lots of talk about what’s called “New Adult” fiction. NA often deals with the turbulent years from 18 through early 20s, when people are starting to pursue their dreams and testing out who they are as adults. Many readers want more NA fiction — more about college, about early jobs, about all those transitions. And while I’ve never been a huge fan of NA fiction, I found myself thinking that this book–though nonfiction–would fit well in that category. It felt relevant to me, and it probably will to many other young women. (*Other* readers too, but I’m speaking from my personal connection to it as a mid-20s woman.)

Weirdly, for a book I enjoyed a lot…I don’t have much more to say? It’s a fascinating memoir that at times reads like anthropology, as if Blair was collecting stories about her life more than living it. Maybe that’s the best type of living, trying not to let things sink in too deep. Maybe it was a vital coping mechanism for a life lived outside typical comforts. Either way, it makes for a thought-provoking read.

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, recommended for women in their 20s, dog lovers, people interested in deep cold, adventurers, and anyone who likes to inhabit someone else’s head for awhile. Oh, and follow Blair on Twitter!

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