Thursday, January 21, 2010

Doris Knowles Pulis's new book

How It Looks Going Back

Growing up in the Montana Woods

By Doris Knowles Pulis

Published 2009 by Riverbend Publishing

Helena, MT

$12 softcover

When eigh-year-old Doris Knowles and her family embarked from their home in Californa on a summer vacation to Canada in 1949, little did they expect to wind up moving to a log cabin, perched on a fish-filled lake, in the sparsely populated Yaak Valley.

In her vivid and well-crafted memoir, Pulis tells about the six years her family spent their, minus electricity or running water. She, and eventually her little sister Bob (Barbara), attended a one-room schoolhous, and the author learned how to split wood, haul water, ride horses and survive through winters that sometimes swallowed most of the year.

The valley is brimming with eccentrics, like Gus, whose nose" was like the Yaak Road: bumpy and crooked," or the Seventh Day Adventist minister, the Rev. McCoy, who loves nothing more than his ongoing fueds (flint and steel and sparks flying") with Dee's dad, Darwin (named for the fathor of the theory of evolution).

Remarkably, Knowles descrives these experiences as though they happened yesterday instead of six decades ago, with sharp detail and a sense of humor and affection that's palpable.

Clem Work, a journalism professor at the University of Montana, notes that the author's "sweet and sassy memoir... shows that the spirit, guts, and grit are priceless qualites in any era."

The author, who now resides in Bend, OR, also spent 25 years in the Bitterrott Valley, where she and her husband raised Christmas trees.

-Kristi Niemeyer