Book Review: Sisters by Aileen and Samme

Twenty one year old Aileen catches the fancy of Slim, an Alaskan trapper who is recovering from a frosted lung in her California town. They strike up a long distance relationship, and after much correspondence Aileen takes off by ferry to join him. She falls in love with the land and the dog team, especially a wolf named Hoppy, and her new life grows on her despite the lack of movie theatre.

Soon Aileen is shooting a rifle, mushing dogs, and building cabins. Life is idyllic in the beautiful Copper River Valley. The second year, and then again the fifth year, that Aileen is in Alaska her younger sister Samme comes and stays with them, and those years are narrated by Samme.

There are long expeditions by foot, dog team, and canoe; caribou hunts, bear adventures, and of course the prerequisite subsero river dunking. Slim and Aileens marriage deteriorates after he kills her wolf and beats up the man she loves. After six years of marriage, Aileen returns to California. Slim goes on to be the first to travel by dog team from Alaska to Chicago.

Don’t expect great writing, but an honest slice of a rarely experienced world that hasn’t changed much in the last eighty years.


  1. Hey…I haven’t the book you describe here, but it sounds like you might enjoy one I just finished called ‘Ordinary Wolves’ by Seth Kanter. It’s about a kid growing up in the Alaskan bush with his sister, brother and father. Mother bailed and they’re the only white folks for miles. He wants more than anything to be an Eskimo. Pretty amazing story. Sounds like it’s drawn at least in part from the author’s childhood. Check it out! Cheers, Pete PS I really liked your breaking-down-in-NM story.

  2. I love lesbians. If I were a woman, I’d be a lesbian. And, lesbians in the wilderness? Please. 😉

  3. hey, tara- if i buy the book through the link on this page do you get a prize? let me know….

  4. I get a comission – but if you prefer to support your local bookstore that’s very cool too.

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