My friend Leigh Newman's first book, a memoir entitled STILL POINTS NORTH, comes out in three days--on March 19--from Dial Press. Here's the official description:
"Part adventure story, part love story, part homecoming, Still Points North is a page-turning memoir that explores the extremes of belonging and exile, and the difference between how to survive and knowing how to truly live.
Growing up in the wilds of Alaska, seven-year-old Leigh Newman spent her time landing silver salmon, hiking glaciers, and flying in a single-prop plane. But her life split in two when her parents unexpectedly divorced, requiring her to spend summers on the tundra with her “Great Alaskan” father and the school year in Baltimore with her more urbane mother.
Navigating the fraught terrain of her family’s unraveling, Newman did what any outdoorsman would do: She adapted. With her father she fished remote rivers, hunted caribou, and packed her own shotgun shells. With her mother she memorized the names of antique furniture, composed proper bread-and-butter notes, and studied Latin poetry at a private girl’s school. Charting her way through these two very different worlds, Newman learned to never get attached to people or places, and to leave others before they left her. As an adult, she explored the most distant reaches of the globe as a travel writer, yet had difficulty navigating the far more foreign landscape of love and marriage."
When I first knew Leigh--during the Latin poetry phase of her childhood--she wasn't much older (or taller) than she is on the book's cover. She was two years behind me in school, a condition that can sometimes render younger kids invisible. But she wasn't, even then. There was something charming about her. And I'm ridiculously excited to read this story.
Update, 3/26/2013: I read it, I loved it, and I interviewed Leigh for Baltimore Fishbowl.