Laurel Braitman spent her childhood learning how to outfish grown men, keep bees, and fix carburetors from her larger-than-life dad. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he went to great lengths to teach her the skills she'd need to survive without him. But by her mid-thirties she is exhausted by running from her own bad feelings. Laurel changes course, navigating wildernesses from northern New Mexico and western Alaska to her own Tinder app. She learns the hard way that no achievement can protect her from pain, and works to transform guilt and regret into gold.
There are a few unsatisfying turns as Braitman grasps for direction and love against the knowledge, hardly secret, that everyone we know will die and everything we know will disappear, but eventually she resolves herself, mostly, to that truth. Some moments are a little forced, but, after a spell of world traveling, earning a doctorate, racking up honors and achievements, and, most of all, enduring the ordinary griefs of life, the author has prevailed. One of her closing realizations is worth the cover price alone.