Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place Review

Name of book: Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Author: Terry Tempest Williams

Reviewer: Melissa

Summary (from Amazon): “In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry’s mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic.”

Rating: 3

Reason for rating: I thought this book was just okay. I had high hopes for this book after I read select excerpts in my literature and environment class. And on some levels, it did deliver. There were parts of the book that were very touching and beautiful. Especially the parts concerning her family and the people side of things. But there were other parts that were quite boring. I mean, they were beautiful in a sense, her description of the birds and so on, but there was a little too much of that for my taste. I think it would be an excellent book for the right reader, but it wasn’t quite for me. That being said, I do like that she has a very distinctive and unique voice and I like the way that she blends narratives together and I did indeed find some of the environmental things very interesting. However, after a while it sort of felt like they were just lists of birds. Perhaps it would have helped if I had been familiar with the birds.

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Disclosure: I was not paid for this review. I checked it out from the library and decided to review it. All opinions in this post are 100 percent mine.