" a funny, moving, vividly written book " Bob Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal.
"As amusing as Fargo... but this is real life in North Dakota a discerning reminiscence written with insight and humor... will jog nostalgic childhood memories for every reader." Sally Maran, Smithsonian Magazine.
In Dakota Boy, a skilled writer gives a thoughtful, entertaining account of his childhood in North Dakota's Red River Valley in the 1940's and early '50's, depicting the haphazard, often comical, hit-and-miss process by which the child and adolescent tries to build an identity. Along the way, he traces the gradual expansion of social consciousness, explores his puzzling, unsatisfying relationship with his distant, taciturn father, and shows the indelible, inescapable influence of the Northern Plains environment: the severe climate, the table flat fields of potatoes and wheat under an intimidating expanse of sky, and the mid century strictures of Scandinavian-Lutheran conservatism. In the end, he says, "I realized that trying to shake my past was futile, that like it or not I'd just have to go through life with a certain amount of North Dakota on my shoes."
I was middle aged when I began writing for publication. I was a teacher then, and a track and cross-country coach, a director of plays, and a leader of wilderness expeditions.
But I started contributing to a weekly paper in my neighborhood