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Biography & Autobiography Fire & Emergency Services

What You Take with You

Wildfire, Family and the Road Home

by (author) Therese Greenwood

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2019
Fire & Emergency Services, Natural Disasters, Personal Memoirs
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price

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Four years after Therese Greenwood and her husband moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta, their new community was shattered by one of the worst wildfires in Canadian history. As the flames approached, they had only minutes to pack, narrowly escaping a fire that would rage for weeks, burn more than 85,000 hectares and force 80,000 people to flee.

About the author

Therese Greenwood has worked as a writer, reporter, editor, broadcaster, and communications executive. Her short fiction has appeared across North America. She lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Therese Greenwood's profile page


  • Short-listed, Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year | Alberta Book Publishing Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta

Editorial Reviews

# 1 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, April 3, 2019

"Greenwood's book, What You Take With You, is an amalgamation of life lessons on the resilience needed to recover emotionally and mentally following the May 2016 [wildfire] disaster.... The book analyzes what Greenwood took from her home as authorities began ordering the evacuation of Fort McMurray. She had only 15 minutes to grab what she needed.... Greenwood said each object she took in the frenzy of evacuation had a subconscious and special meaning for her.... Each chapter of her book explains the life lesson tied to these objects and how Greenwood applied those lessons to the aftermath of the fire." [Full article at]

Fort McMurray Today

" evacuation orders were imposed and as the highway out of town swelled with traffic... [Greenwood] gathered an assortment of objects, from deeply meaningful mementos to items that initially appeared more random... Each of the objects she has retained is carefully considered and contextualized over a number of chapters that fuse past and present, family memories and local histories.... In this surprisingly gripping and deeply moving account, Greenwood considers how we re-establish normalcy in the wake of profound loss." [Full review at]

Canadian Literature

"One of the greatest treasures in life may be to understand both where we have come from and who we have come to be. It seems that Therese’s reflections gave her some of those insights. Perhaps reading and reflecting with her might do the same for us."

Bob Trube

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