Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman

I first heard about Blair Braverman from a quote from the New York Times article she wrote about the Iditarod after I came back from Alaska in September. Before Alaska, I never knew there was a race called Iditarod, nor did I know this race was run by sled dogs.

After coming back from Alaska, wanderlust, and trapped back into a COVID lockdown, I requested this book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair, from our local library. I think I was under the impression that this book is about Iditarod or dog sledding and it’s a lot more than that. This book is more about Braverman’s recollection of how she grew up, longed to live in a cold place (I still can’t understand why), lived in Norway and lived/raced in Alaska.

I love the book, and I love the way she writes her story almost like a novel but you know everything is true. It is more of a biography than JUST about sled dogs or living in the cold. I think one unsettled feeling of mine comes from the parts where she talked about being molested by her host parent in Norway, “Far” (I guess meaning farther). She made a great effort to try and come to terms with those emotions but I don’t think she quite got there yet in the book. Maybe she didn’t get there in real life either. She also pretty objectively (almost seem like from a third-person perspective) described how she was treated in Alaska by her first boyfriend Dan, and many other men out there. Goodreads reviews described these men as misogynistic¬†

In comparison to a similar adventure type of autobiography, the Push, by Tommy Caldwell, I think Tommy had some disturbing memories of his childhood and previous marriage but I enjoy the parts where he looks back and reflects on them in the book as the event happens. The reflection, obviously made many years after the actual event, was helpful for me to see his full story. I think Braverman’s book is lacking some of those deeper reflections that I would have loved. Even the last few pages, Braverman was still haunted by the memory of Far, and that in-and-of-itself disturbed me ever still. I really hope karma catches up to this horrible human filth.

Overall, it was a solid read, and I love Blair’s friend in Norway, Arild.