Light and Silence

Growing Up in My Mother's Alaska

by Janet Brown

She was the American Girl of every returning soldier’s dream: well-scrubbed, long-legged, virginal, with a dazzling smile and an unspoken plan. Someday she would live in America’s Arctic...

Abandoning post-war America’s Leave It to Beaver modernity, a woman from midtown Manhattan raised her family of five on a homestead in Alaska. This had been her dream from the time she was a little girl, but the Alaska she found wasn’t quite what she had envisioned. Her children became Alaskans in a way she had never intended, in a place that was almost its own continent and definitely its own world.

Living a life that was still locked in the 19th century, with an outdoor privy, a wood-burning barrel stove, a Ford tractor as a second car, and a husband who was legally blind, she never gave up on her childhood dream. Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Glass Castle collide as her life unfolds, heavily laced with the humor and heroism that was the hallmark of the Last Frontier before it became the 49th state.

A woman with persistent optimism in a life that was studded with tragedy, this New Yorker with eccentric dreams had the courage to build a life for herself and her family in a place that was still truly wilderness, a domain of wind, grass, and trees. The life she lived was difficult, but it was her own. She chose it, she crafted it, and she savored it. Her story is a tribute to the unique and indomitable spirit of the great ladies whose labor, devotion, and love shaped Alaska.


Janet Brown
Janet Brown is a former bookseller who lives in Seattle and travels to Asia whenever she can. Born in Manhattan and brought up in Alaska, she tends to be attracted to extremes.

Also by Janet Brown:

Tone Deaf on Bangkok ... and other places

Almost Home

B is for Bangkok

2015; 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; 144 pages; paperback; color images
ISBN-10: 1-934159-56-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-934159-56-9