[A Quick Note: I read this book a very long time ago…maybe 15 years? It was given to me by my mother, who had the foresight to ensure my sisters and I read some serious books amidst all our fantasy reads. And this one was very informative for a younger mind. Coming back to it as an adult, I got even more out of it…]
“𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝.”—Robert Specht
Tisha is the true story of a young schoolteacher, Anne Hobbs, in the 1920s, who ventures into the Alaskan wilderness, to the small town of Chicken, to run a school. It illustrates the hardships she faced both in the unforgivable environment, and with the people themselves. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking. Mostly, it was eye-opening and instructive. Anne was threatened, mistreated, and scorned for doing what was right, for allowing Indian school children into her school house, and for falling in love with a half white/half Inuit man, yet, she prevailed and continued fighting.
I loved this book; it was my second time reading it. I read it back in high school, and it was impactful then, but it was more impactful now. Anne is nineteen when she leaves the states in search of adventure. She’s called to teach in the Alaskan wilderness, during a time of monumental change in Alaska. It’s very much America’s final frontier, and there’s a huge gold rush boom. What Anne discovers is the brutal life led by both the immigrants and natives, and the deep prejudices harbored.
I loved Anne’s pure heart. She doesn’t care about a child’s skin color; everyone has a right to an education. She opens her schoolroom for native Inuit children and she’s punished for it. The people of Chicken don’t agree with her, and they don’t want their white children in the same room as “savages.” Seeing how deep these prejudices were, was often very hard to read. The Alaskan wilderness is unforgivable, and losing the support of her small town became a life or death situation, in a place where temperatures drop to 50 below. Yet, Anne never compromises on what is right.
“𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐩 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬--𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐝. 𝐈 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐝𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐭. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐀𝐥𝐥 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩.” —Robert Specht
There was a heavy sense of helplessness throughout the story. Anne is a petite, nineteen year old woman facing off against some really mean people who could seriously harm her. She’s mistreated for doing what’s right. And when she begins to fall in love with a half white/half inuit man, she’s threatened, even shunned. This was often difficult to read.
But, there are some extremely heart warming events in this book, too. Especially between Anne and her school children. Those moments made the book easier to stomach.
It claims to be a “love story” and while there is a love story present, it’s not the center of Anne’s story. There’s so much more to it than that. This book gives a real look at the harsh aspects of frontier life. The way people “survived” and how hard they had to be. It also illustrated the consequences of the white man on the Indian people, and how destructive the white man was to their culture:
“𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐜𝐤. 𝐅𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝, 𝐡𝐞’𝐝 𝐠𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐤. 𝐅𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐫, 𝐬𝐮𝐠𝐚𝐫, 𝐛𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐬—𝐧𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐟𝐟 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐭. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝, 𝐚𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐲. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐧, 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐡𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞, 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐢𝐭.” —Robert Specht
I don’t normally go for memoirs/biographies. This is written really well, reads like a genuine novel, and transports you to a different time, a different world, a different way of life. Highly recommend for people of all ages, even if you don’t normally enjoy biographies (I sure don’t, normally!)
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟓/𝟓⭐️