“Through the story of facing her fears, Abdou shows us that we are much stronger than we think.” — Jowita Bydlowska, author of Drunk Mom
This personal memoir of self-discovery tackles the problems of modern parenting in a digital age
Disillusioned with overly competitive organized sports and concerned about her lively daughter’s growing shyness, author Angie Abdou sets herself a challenge: to hike a peak a week over the summer holidays with Katie. They will bond in nature and discover the glories of outdoor activity. What could go wrong? Well, among other things, it turns out that Angie loves hiking but Katie doesn’t.
Hilarious, poignant, and deeply felt, This One Wild Life explores parenting and marriage in a summer of unexpected outcomes and growth for both mother and daughter.
About the author
Angie Abdou began writing fiction in 2000 and has since published five books. Anything Boys Can Do was praised by the Times Colonist (British Columbia) for its original take on female sexuality. The Bone Cage, a novel about Olympic athletes, was the inaugural One Book, One Kootenay, as well as a 2011 Canada Reads finalist and the 2012 MacEwan Book of the Year. The Canterbury Trail (Brindle & Glass, 2011), is a dark comedy specifically about mountain culture and more generally about community and our relationship with the environment. The Canterbury Trail was a finalist for the Banff Mountain Book of the Year and won an IPPY (independent publishing award), Gold Medal for Canada West. Her fourth novel, Between (Arsenal Pulp Press), is about working mothers, foreign labour, and swingers' resorts. It was chosen as a best of 2014 by the Vancouver Sun, Prism Magazine, and 49th Shelf. Her latest book, What Remains (Arsenal Pulp Press), will be released in Fall 2017. Angie was born and raised in Moose Jaw, SK. She currently lives in the Crowsnest Pass area and works as a Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.
Excerpt: This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Wilderness Memoir (by (author) Angie Abdou)
As the trail gets more exposed, Katie’s enthusiasm bubbles. She’s still silent, but the determination and excitement vibrate in the set of her shoulders, the intensity in her eyes. She keeps her strides long and strong, her pace vigorous.
“Do not fall,” I warn her. “If you fall, you will die.” I look at the steep drop-off to our left and imagine her losing her footing, careening down the mountainside. Would she really die? Maybe not. Still. Falling here is not an option. “Keep your eyes on the trail. One careful step at a time.”
Seeing her approach the peak, measured and calculated but also daring and bold, I recognize the limitations of these dualities we depend upon, the ease with which we fall into them, pretending they make sense of our lives and our people. We draw on simple binaries like good/bad, shy/brave, happy/sad in an impossible attempt to impose order on chaos, to beat the ever-shifting complexity of life into manageable containers. I do it with almost everything. Katie: shy versus brave. Our marriage: the dark years before versus the happy years now. My relationship with Gyllie: the wise elder friend versus the younger hopeless friend. Ollie and Katie: sound versus silence. I do take comfort in the tidiness of these sharp distinctions, all of us controlled and in our places, but that fixed clarity has little to do with our real lives, a series of stand-alone, unique moments.
“This memoir is unlike any other; through the story of facing her fears, Abdou shows us that we are much stronger than we think.” — Jowita Bydlowska, author of Drunk Mom
“Reading this memoir about a mother and daughter forging connections with the wilderness — and each other — is like going forest bathing: it will leave you feeling refreshed and restored, with a big smile on your face. This One Wild Life is written with great honesty, insight, and love. Nature needs more friends (and mothers) like Angie Abdou!” — Marni Jackson, author of The Mother Zone
“In this brave and intimate 21st century memoir, Abdou negotiates the whipsawing tensions between motherhood, selfhood, marriage, and public life in an age when secrets have never been harder to keep, social media can be a truth-teller’s harshest critic, and not even Nature can be counted on for sanctuary.” — John Valliant
“Anyone who has ever been pushed to do something outdoorsy because it was good for them — or who has been the parent doing the pushing — will find this sweet tale on the growing and changing parental relationship all too familiar.” — ELLE Canada
“To be worth reading, a successful memoir must offer readers more than a focused look at a slice of the author’s life … Abdou is a complex, multi-talented person with her share of quirks and hang-ups. But, more importantly, she is a thoughtful person, and a time spent with her will certainly offer much to ponder for equally thoughtful readers.” — Sport Literature Association