Reviews of Where the Moose Slept By Atwood Cutting
This is a most charming and engaging retelling of some of the author’s family stories. I was fascinated with the spirit, stamina and bravery (!) Cutting’s parents must have possessed to trek out into such a harsh wilderness and create an independent life of their very own. This was the first of a trilogy–there is more to this story, and I will be getting back to it later!
I’d recommend this to anyone–and you will find out how the author got her name.
Cutting writes with an eye for specificity that evokes the Alaskan bush in all its daunting beauty.
From Kirkus Reviews: “Cutting (Tales from Sleeping Moose Vol. 4, 2015, etc.) recounts the adventures of a young couple settling in a remote part of Alaska in this episodic novel. It’s the summer of 1976, and Kate Peters is a young artist from Hawaii. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s notions of self-reliance, she goes to Alaska for her honeymoon with her new husband, Tim, who’s inspired by Jack London’s writings. The two are planning to buy property in Vermont once they get back to the Lower 48, but when they pass a sign advertising land for sale near a tiny Alaskan hamlet, they make the impulsive decision to settle right there. High up on a mountainside, the property possesses “a panoramic view of the Chugach Range, Skilak Lake and the ice capped Kenai Fjords to the south.” Kate takes the presence of a recent moose bed as a sign—after all, the town below them is called Sleeping Moose—and decides to build their house right on that spot. The next three years will be a race against the weather— and impending parenthood—as Kate and Tim attempt to erect a cabin and then a house in the wilderness; meanwhile, they contend with local characters, local fauna, and the effects of isolation on the human spirit. This work of “fact-based fiction” is based on Cutting’s own family members’ experiences, and it includes black-and-white photographs of her parents and moments from her own childhood. She writes with an eye for specificity that evokes the Alaskan bush in all its daunting beauty. The difficulty of life in the area, particularly before the advent of cellphones and the internet, is illustrated in the planning and patience that Kate and Tim put into every action. In one sense, this is a book about a construction project, but in another, it’s the story of the formation of a family—one built not on self-reliance but on learning to rely on one another. Overall, it offers a satisfying mix of nature writing, a survival narrative, and a deliberative account of a task slowly completed.”
“An evocative, vignette-filled story of one family’s experiences up north.”
“This book really gets across the situational humor encountered in ‘bush’ life.” – Ann Wood O’Brien, Fisher and Trapper, Tanana and Manley, Alaska
“When I first went to the mountain to visit Tim and Kate, it took some convincing for me to believe that they lived in the small outbuilding that I thought was a tool shed. But it was true.” – Brandon Anderson, Alaska State Trooper (Retired)
“Cutting’s reference to ‘Seeing the Elephant’ is brilliant. For the first time, I understood what that expression means.” – Smokey Daytona, Cape Coral, Florida
“The reader should get ready for a fast and compelling read in this fascinating Alaska life story. This book illuminates the pioneer spirit which built America but often killed people in the process. What an eye-opener.” – A. Calmelat, Phoenix, Arizona
“It was delightful and inspiring; pointing out some not-so-obvious realities, in heartfelt and canny ways.” –
A. McEachern, Cambridge, Massachusetts
“I spent nearly thirty winters in the frozen North— but at least we had electricity, central heating, toilets, phones, roads, and other people.” – M. Cutting, Stockholm, Sweden
“How do we handle the ending of dreams and the need to refocus dreams no matter how much effort one put into them?” – Karen Olanna, Artist, Shishmaref and Nome, Alaska
5.0 out of 5 stars How to start from nothing but have everything in Alaska! By Kindle Customer on October 13, 2014
“I just finished reading this wonderful little book. What an eye opener! The book describes life for two newlyweds who move from the security of their lower forty-eight youth to the wilds of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Although written by their daughter, the book rings true in every sense. The two, completely unprepared young people, begin from nothing except a childhood of common sense and a belief that anything is possible. Together they begin their life together on a whim by buying a piece of property on a beautiful hilltop. They are completely unaware of the inherent dangers and arduousness of their undertaking. Ms. Cutting’s book is written in a fast- paced compelling style which catapults the reader from page to page. I cannot wait for the next volume.”
By Urban Nomad Services on February 6, 2015
“When I met the author last year and saw her draft and photos, I knew this would be fun. This memoir of Alaskan homesteading made an engaging escape from rude passengers and weary airline staff on my recent flight. It has just the right balance of sobering reality, inspiring determination, and true neighborliness. Older children might enjoy it, too. Now I’m eager for the next volume. More tales please!”
By Captain Ace Zapata on October 22, 2014
“It’s a great yarn. That woman Kate is really sumpin’ This ol’ Mexican rebel kaint wait 4 Vol 2.”
By1 Happy Camper on November 26, 2014
“Very enjoyable tale. I felt like I was sitting across the kitchen table listening to an old friend share fond memories. Highly recommended.”
By Troy Lesan on December 17, 2014
“Reading this book made me feel like I was there. A fascinating account of life in our nation’s last frontier.”
By Kate Mac on December 19, 2016
“It’s amazing to think that someone could actually do all this! Now that we have cell phones and satellites it seems impossible to be completely off the grid, relying on just yourself and your partner to make something out of nothing. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!”
Top customer reviews
By Kindle Customer on July 23, 2015
The most gripping volume thus far! Atwood (Attie) Cutting continues the tale of her mother’s life as a homesteader in 1979 Alaska. This third volume covers one unusually cold and difficult winter on the mountain where blizzards and chinook winds howled for months only finally to be followed by summer months of continuous rain. The cardboard walls and a stovepipe prone to catching fire were the least of the family’s problems. Tools and vehicles worked only sporadically in the sub-zero temperatures of that winter. Neighbors at the end of the road could be either friend or foe. Guns were always at the ready. The reader should get ready for a fast and compelling read in this latest volume of Kate Peter’s fascinating Alaska life story.
By Jerry U. on April 22, 2016
I contemplated homesteading in Alaska during the 1960s, After reading the “mostly true” stories I’m both glad and sorry I didn’t. Sorry for the wonderful characters I missed meeting and glad to escape encountering the vile ones. Didn’t experience the snowy virgin landscape nor it’s life-threatening hazards. Took for granted indoor plumbing, central heat, grocery stores and plowed roads, but lacked the satisfaction of building a home with only my hands and determination. Cutting’s tales of daily pioneer surviving are told with humor, drama and delight in the simplest of pleasures. I came away with a feeling of “been there, done that” even though I had not. Now, I want to know how and if “I” ended my Alaskan adventure!
By Kindle Customer on January 13, 2016
Atwood Cutting is a supreme storyteller! In this, the fourth volume of her series about her mother’s experiences with homesteading in remote Alaska, she has saved the best (and the worst) for last. Troubles plagued her mother and father to the point where they feared for their lives if they stayed in the gorgeous pastoral homestead that they literally carved out of the wilderness. The people who move to the end of the road are people who want to live outside of convention. With only one lawman in over a thousand square miles, people at the “end of the road” tend to follow their own consciences, and some don’t have much if any. This book illuminates the pioneer spirit which built America but often killed people on the process. Eminently readable, it rightly deserves a five-star rating.
Marsha Ritterband May 29, 2017
Side note: I must say that when everyone in our little aquacise class was talking about Atwood Cutting, a friendly, outgoing, singing to the exercise, happyish woman in our group, I only showed a partial interest. I am a voracious reader of fiction, such as John Gresham, Harlan Cobin, Iris Johansen, etc., who’s stories lead me on a race to excitement, love, murder, etc.
Then, at one point, in the dressing room after exercise, someone showed me the Cutting book. First of all, the cover caught my eye – its shades of redish, black, with a pink sky and black moose. I thought, “Hmmm, it might be interesting; I can just give it a try.”
I completed reading the book in two sessions over the Memorial Day weekend. It totally captivated me even though it did not focus on the mystery, romance, and forced excitement of most of my reading. To think that two young people would take such a life journey to an undisturbed land and be willing to build and live in such an almost unbelievably harsh and risky frontier was amazing to me. My life was the total opposite: born in California, raised in Los Angeles during the 40s, 50s, and 60s; my needs and support were mostly taken care of by my parents and husband. I was amazed as I kept reading.
The author/narrator fully provided me with all that I needed to visualize in my ‘mind’s eye’ what was going on by her graphic picturesque descriptions of both the characters’ physical and emotional settings. This was enhanced by the selected photographs.
I was very impressed by the letter that the heroine sent to her mother. It was so loving and inviting. And then the mother coming from Hawaii and not complaining about all the hardships that her daughter and son-in-law were living with. She was so accepting and comforting when one would expect her to be more fearful and maybe even angry.
The descriptions of the young couple allowed me to see that they were so well matched and committed to each other and to the challenges they took on together. They trusted each other and did not dwell on the risks that they were perpetually facing. They clearly cared for and supported each other in an old-fashioned way, showing strength, honesty and respect, along with a sense of humor.
Coming to the end of reading Part One makes me hope that there will be more volumes forthcoming soon. The book richly revealed that there is such a thing as successful frontier living during modern (pre-cell phone and Internet) times.
Unbelievably Funny, and Masterfully Written! July 18, 2017
This review is from: Where the Moose Slept: An account of two late-20th century pioneers who ‘saw the elephant’ on the Last Frontier (Sleeping Moose Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This book is both hilarious and enlightening to the hardships and accomplishments of the pioneers who tried their time in the Alaskan ‘bush’.
| Alaska pioneering in the 20th century, March 18, 2015
Verified Purchase (What’s this?)
This review is from: Tales from Sleeping Moose Vol. 2: Alaska- In this Lifetime (Volume 2) (Paperback)
An excellent tale of mid-20th century homesteaders in Alaska with emphasis on building their home from the tree on up! I’m looking forward to the next installment in the saga!
By Captain Ace Zapata on February 22, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
A wonderful account of young, strong, daring, & some might say nutty, but definitely skillful & optimistic positive thinkers, and their success in the Alaskan wilderness. They built a house starting in the forest cutting down trees for building materials, it took 2 years of rain, snow, ice, mud & beautiful wildflowers, & northern lights nights & oh, yeah, they had a baby before the roof was on. Atwood Cutting is a gifted raconteur, You’ll laugh & cry while reading this tale; I did. I’m primed & ready for vol.3 now. One need not read Vol 1 before Vol 2 but after Vol 2 you’ll surely want more of Atwood Cutting’s writing.
By Kate Mac on December 19, 2016
It just keeps getting better! I feel like I’m living it with her, but with the comfort of electricity and a hot shower
An “ecstatic” Octogenarian’s View: Review by Marie Gene, retired kindergarten teacher
Little did I know that the lady I met in a locker room after our water exercise class was an author of a book that I would have the privilege of reading. She was very friendly, personable, loved to sing, and I felt that I’d known her for a long time. Only after several weeks did I realize the book “Where the Moose Slept” was written by her as a newlywed on a pioneer expedition.
I had read about pioneers in the westward movement and settlers in the land beyond the Mississippi, but never in words and pictures, the way I experienced the actual life of Kate and Tim Peters in our 20th century. These two portrayed the love of each other and their devotion to an achievement (actually building a life against all odds), while getting along with an assortment of humanity.
I could not put the book down. Once Kate and Tim found the sign “Land for Sale,” followed the urge to investigate, they met a true “down to earth couple” (a very fortunate thing), with whom they became utter soulmates. The honeymooners worked together to conquer their dreams. Each step of the way was portrayed with confidence, agony, support and abiding love and admiration, while establishing some of the basics in life: food, shelter, warmth and water. Kate finds solace with descriptive letters to her “Mamasan.” These descriptions, plus the narrative of daily activities and the many photographs taken, make this book an easy read. After almost 3 ½ years, chapter after chapter, I felt as though I belonged with them. Finally, a house rose, cement block by block, beam by beam, and log by log. Then there was a highlight with the birth of their daughter, followed by the completion of their house with the addition of a tin roof, walls and windows.
I do hope that the life of these homesteaders continues in a forthcoming book. I’ve been to Alaska and known its rustic beauty, but never as the settlers in a realistic pioneer life.
Thank you for letting me be part of the life of author Atwood Cutting. –
“I’m more than half way through your book. It’s a really good read. You know what details are important to the story and don’t bog your readers down in unnecessary observations. Every word keeps the story moving – that is not easy to do for most people new to writing. You either have a natural talent for this or an excellent editor. Either way, good job! It’s a hard book to put down.”
John Sieracki, Humanities Librarian Milwaukee Public Library