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The Gift of the Deer: 02/26/09

In the 1960s, Helen and Adrian Hoover shared their Minnesota cabin yard with a family of whitetail deer. The first to arrive was a starving young buck whom they named Peter. After Peter there came Mama, Pig, Brother, Starface, Little Buck, Pretty and Fuzzy. These four years are the basis of The Gift of the Deer.

These deer were not pets but the Hoovers did what they could to make a safe environment for them, free from hunters and with enough available food to last the long, harsh winters. While Helen journaled about their experiences, her husband sketched them. His sketches are included throughout the book along with a family tree.

The Gift of the Deer details the challenges of living in rural, wooded areas, especially during the long winters. There is much discussion of the planning needed to survive with enough fuel for cooking and heating and enough food for those times when the roads are impassible.

I enjoyed the first year (Peter's year) most but after a while the observations became more of the same. As the book continued I found myself skimming more and reading less. I kept reading mostly for the Adrian Hoover's illustrations.

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: February, 27, 2009 at 09:12:25


This sounds like a book I might enjoy reading.

Comment #2: February 27, 2009 at 13:44:52


Wonderful. The book is still in print so it should be easy to find online or through your local favorite book store if your library doesn't have a copy.

Comment #3: Sunday, March, 1, 2009 at 14:53:10


Sounds interesting if not compelling. I certainly don't have what it takes to live in the woods for long periods of time.

Comment #4: Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 15:59:01


I don't think I would be happy with so much isolation. I probably have the skills to survive but I just don't think I'd be happy for months at a time of it.

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