Ms. Butcher finds a way to make her story as much about the crisscross knot that is America today as it is about her and Joy, their short time together, and those men whom women love and too often fear ... The author’s narrative covers two brief visits to Alaska, but it is shot through with poignant insights about that extraordinary place and the extraordinary woman who drew her there ... 'Listen to this landscape,' Joy tells the author during their journey. “We can be anyone.” By listening so well to that landscape and to her plucky companion, Ms. Butcher indeed finds untapped reserves of self-reliance, and finally the power to reinvent herself. She also tells a rattling good story.
Butcher manages to combine an incredibly personal story of her troubled romantic relationship with the portrait of a remarkable, one-of-a-kind Alaskan woman ... boldly personal and soul-searching ... Her discussion of her abusive relationship is perhaps longer than it needs to be, and often repetitive, but no one can argue that she is not an honest and brave writer. She also is adept at blending and finding correlations in her story and that of Joy ... Butcher’s prose is clear, well-composed and often appealingly humorous, especially when describing her adventures on the road with Joy.
... a meditation on what it means to be a woman in this country and a master class in the power of brutally honest writing ... Butcher's other experiences with dangerous men haunt the memoir to impressive effect ... The author's descriptions of the violence are as gutsy and compelling as they are unsettling, and her frank exactness pays off on the page ... All of this God talk made me — a member of the growing Millennial horde allergic to anything even close to evangelizing — queasy. But despite my discomfort, the choice to explore religion so openly did create narrative tension, and the parallels between Dave's Christianity and Joy's offered a complex dissonance that was a pleasure to parse.