Houston’s...latest essay collection...wields scorching honesty and heartfelt reflection ... Her search for a home to make her own, far from memories and deeply entrenched in the history of the land’s pioneer past, took Houston through a literary reckoning that cuts to the bone while offering succor for a shattered youth. Always impressive, Houston is in striking form here. Her talent remains remarkable and her words extraordinarily affecting and effective.
[Houston has] learned nothing, in other words, between the first pages and the last ... Houston has always wanted to be 'a child of the wilderness,' she tells us, but she’s now an elder; it’s time to do the hard work of connecting the dots between cause and effect... [To do so] would have been the beginning of a decent, possibly instructive memoir, or at least something beyond these sleepy musings.
What may come as a surprise...is that Houston developed PTSD from a childhood of mental and physical abuse ... But there is little bitterness in Deep Creek, which describes a place of hope ... this [is] perceptive work ... One of the memoir’s most engrossing sections describes 2013’s huge West Fork fire ... Houston’s dramatic account of this includes terms she learned about fire behavior and firefighting methods, helping readers appreciate the immense threat in times of drought ... learning to care for her land showed that all this time, it had cared for her.