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Becoming Frozen: Memoir of a First Year in Alaska

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Jill Homer was just another naive young woman who followed a man to the Last Frontier — but it was Alaska that won her heart. This memoir is a love story about the wonderful, humorous, and sometimes harrowing experiences that await when a woman throws her heart to the wind just to see where it lands. After taking a job at a weekly newspaper in Homer, Alaska, Jill and her Jill Homer was just another naive young woman who followed a man to the Last Frontier — but it was Alaska that won her heart. This memoir is a love story about the wonderful, humorous, and sometimes harrowing experiences that await when a woman throws her heart to the wind just to see where it lands. After taking a job at a weekly newspaper in Homer, Alaska, Jill and her partner forge a new life in a town where artists and sport fishermen drive the local economy, grizzly bears roam through back yards, social outings feature death-defying ski trips or kayaking rough seas in freezing rain, and business attire means wearing three sweaters to an unheated office. As Jill adapts to Homer's idiosyncrasies, she finds her own quirky hobby — riding a bike on snow. Despite having little in the way of an athletic background or talent, Jill signs up for a hundred-mile race across frozen wilderness. As the harsh Alaskan winter sets in, she launches a tenacious training routine that takes her far out of her comfort zone. Here, under the Northern Lights, battling exhaustion and extreme cold, Jill discovers the heart of Alaska. And there's no going back.


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Jill Homer was just another naive young woman who followed a man to the Last Frontier — but it was Alaska that won her heart. This memoir is a love story about the wonderful, humorous, and sometimes harrowing experiences that await when a woman throws her heart to the wind just to see where it lands. After taking a job at a weekly newspaper in Homer, Alaska, Jill and her Jill Homer was just another naive young woman who followed a man to the Last Frontier — but it was Alaska that won her heart. This memoir is a love story about the wonderful, humorous, and sometimes harrowing experiences that await when a woman throws her heart to the wind just to see where it lands. After taking a job at a weekly newspaper in Homer, Alaska, Jill and her partner forge a new life in a town where artists and sport fishermen drive the local economy, grizzly bears roam through back yards, social outings feature death-defying ski trips or kayaking rough seas in freezing rain, and business attire means wearing three sweaters to an unheated office. As Jill adapts to Homer's idiosyncrasies, she finds her own quirky hobby — riding a bike on snow. Despite having little in the way of an athletic background or talent, Jill signs up for a hundred-mile race across frozen wilderness. As the harsh Alaskan winter sets in, she launches a tenacious training routine that takes her far out of her comfort zone. Here, under the Northern Lights, battling exhaustion and extreme cold, Jill discovers the heart of Alaska. And there's no going back.

30 review for Becoming Frozen: Memoir of a First Year in Alaska

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ramona Walker

    This held my interest though it is really about 90% about biking in Alaska during the winter. I kept on through the book because I kept hoping there was more about Alaska and something other than extreme sports, as that was not what I thought the focus was going to be. I'm sure sports enthusiasts would find this fascinating but as a non-biker/runner I kept thinking there would be more. Perhaps the preview/blurb could mention how much the sports are involved and not mislead you to thinking it was This held my interest though it is really about 90% about biking in Alaska during the winter. I kept on through the book because I kept hoping there was more about Alaska and something other than extreme sports, as that was not what I thought the focus was going to be. I'm sure sports enthusiasts would find this fascinating but as a non-biker/runner I kept thinking there would be more. Perhaps the preview/blurb could mention how much the sports are involved and not mislead you to thinking it was about living in Alaska or publishing a small town newspaper, both of which I'd love to have learned more.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    A fascinating read about Jill, who ups and leaves her life to follow her boyfriend to Alaska. Loved reading about her starting her adventure in endurance sports, shivered when she described the cold conditions, got annoyed at her non-committing boyfriend and I really didn't like her boss! An easy but fun read! A fascinating read about Jill, who ups and leaves her life to follow her boyfriend to Alaska. Loved reading about her starting her adventure in endurance sports, shivered when she described the cold conditions, got annoyed at her non-committing boyfriend and I really didn't like her boss! An easy but fun read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    A perfect description of Alaska's affect on people Jill put my feelings for Alaska in a few perfect words, not to mention described biking through the wilderness exquisitely. A perfect description of Alaska's affect on people Jill put my feelings for Alaska in a few perfect words, not to mention described biking through the wilderness exquisitely.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Snider

    Refreshing to read such a well written book about Alaska. The author was able to keep me captivated with the clear and intense descriptions of the races she ran and her personal life. I'm looking forward to reading many more books from this author! I highly recommend you read this memoir. Refreshing to read such a well written book about Alaska. The author was able to keep me captivated with the clear and intense descriptions of the races she ran and her personal life. I'm looking forward to reading many more books from this author! I highly recommend you read this memoir.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Worth a read.inspiring at times Great start. strong prose. engaging chapters. Very thought provoking at times. Jill is a bit of a wanderer with energy to do...something to prove she's not just a girl following a guy who won't commit. worth the read until you get to the end which occurs suddenly, without warning and with great lackluster. Worth a read.inspiring at times Great start. strong prose. engaging chapters. Very thought provoking at times. Jill is a bit of a wanderer with energy to do...something to prove she's not just a girl following a guy who won't commit. worth the read until you get to the end which occurs suddenly, without warning and with great lackluster.

  6. 5 out of 5

    lynn

    Ever been obsessed with proving yourself in something? While the title describes a narrative of a first year of living in Alaska, the story's focus is actually on Ms. Homer's turning her bicycling commute to and from work into a desire to participate and complete long distant bike races over snow and ice. Quite an amazing feat and story! Ever been obsessed with proving yourself in something? While the title describes a narrative of a first year of living in Alaska, the story's focus is actually on Ms. Homer's turning her bicycling commute to and from work into a desire to participate and complete long distant bike races over snow and ice. Quite an amazing feat and story!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deborah aka Reading Mom

    I have an abiding love for Homer, AK, so I enjoyed the book. Not because I am an adventurer like Jill, but because I enjoyed reading about the many places I had been in Homer and the surrounding area. It enabled me to re-live some fond memories of the town at the end of the road.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Edwards

    I kinda thought this book was kinda boreing. I figured there would be more excitement in this book. If you just want to hear some one talking about bicycle races and camping then this book is for you Yup was expecting some some adventure since it takes place in Alaska but the oppisit.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Panfilova

    Alaska and endurance training Be forewarned: the book quickly turns from moving to Alaska to training for racing. I am much more interested in Alaska than running or cycling, but the book is still a fun read due to the author's wonderful writing style. Alaska and endurance training Be forewarned: the book quickly turns from moving to Alaska to training for racing. I am much more interested in Alaska than running or cycling, but the book is still a fun read due to the author's wonderful writing style.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Amazing and inspirational Jill you inspire me with your drive and sense of adventure. Alaska is truly a beautiful place and a complete different world than here in Utah. This was a great read in so many ways. Thanks!

  11. 5 out of 5

    L.C.

    I wish I could say 3.5. Not my favorite Jill Homer text (Be Brave, Be Strong), and a little too much reflection on a failing relationship that must have been cathartic for the author. But it had great insight to her growth to an endurance bicyclist and adventurer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Insane bicycle riding through the Alaskan winter.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda Drish

    Jill Homer is my favorite author. I LOVED this book. I will write more at a later time. Highly recommend reading this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I liked the adventurous story of moving to Alaska and entering numerous bike races. It was fun to imagine myself doing something similar. Some profanity.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marvel

    Interesting and entertaining. Especially for me since I've been to many of the places she's in and am familiar with them. Her passion for snow bicyling is a little beyond me but to each his own. Interesting and entertaining. Especially for me since I've been to many of the places she's in and am familiar with them. Her passion for snow bicyling is a little beyond me but to each his own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Very well written story of a girl going of age and finding what she wants in life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Myra L Rice

    Bicycling in Alaska Well written account of living in Alaska for a year in Homer. Interesting view of bicycling and running in the dead of winter.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alli

    I loved this book about the author making a home for herself in Alaska

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martip

    It's cool to finish the book on my kindle and see Homer has written FIVE more books of an autobiographical/adventure nature! It's cool to finish the book on my kindle and see Homer has written FIVE more books of an autobiographical/adventure nature!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rich Otterstrom

    Jill takes what may seem as a more mundane topic of just moving to Alaska and makes an entertaining story that makes me question my dedication to my own adventures.

  21. 4 out of 5

    DesertReal

    Her evocative words and descriptions transport you to places beyond comprehension... I've read Jill Homer's blog off and on for over a decade. Through hasty moves, bad relationships, and during commutes to crappy soul sucking jobs. I stumbled upon this after an exhausting day at work, while COVID-19 was burning through PA, and fell in love all over again. The vivid pictures that leap off the page, and the undeniable message that shines through, really hits home just how important it is to keep go Her evocative words and descriptions transport you to places beyond comprehension... I've read Jill Homer's blog off and on for over a decade. Through hasty moves, bad relationships, and during commutes to crappy soul sucking jobs. I stumbled upon this after an exhausting day at work, while COVID-19 was burning through PA, and fell in love all over again. The vivid pictures that leap off the page, and the undeniable message that shines through, really hits home just how important it is to keep going (no matter how slowly). As long as you're moving, you're still moving forward. I can't articulate how much this book and her experiences mean to me, but I can say that everyone can relate to rising to the challlenges that life and everything in between throws your way. If you have a pulse, and a sense of adventure- this is the book for you.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grace Lynch

    If you desire a book that pulls you in, and becomes a Bible to get you motivated, and off the couch this is it... I’ve been asked a lot in my life, “doesn’t that feel scary?” Wether its seeing a movie about a killer clown, or it’s taking up roller skating over thirty, wanting to know about derby, starting yoga over again, and beginning trapeze yoga in my late thirties, as a way of mentally escaping the pandemic...or hanging off the back of an old train built in the 1800s in Alaska in 2017....Jill If you desire a book that pulls you in, and becomes a Bible to get you motivated, and off the couch this is it... I’ve been asked a lot in my life, “doesn’t that feel scary?” Wether its seeing a movie about a killer clown, or it’s taking up roller skating over thirty, wanting to know about derby, starting yoga over again, and beginning trapeze yoga in my late thirties, as a way of mentally escaping the pandemic...or hanging off the back of an old train built in the 1800s in Alaska in 2017....Jill Homer states perfectly. She would rather feel fear than suffocation. We miss all the chances we don’t take. If you’ve ever been interested in how Alaska steals people’s souls, and why it remains the last frontier, full of freedom...read this book and get started on her journey with her from her hum drum life to dreams filled with powder and snow bikes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    What drew me to this book initially was the name of the author and that it took place in the area in which I live. I appreciate the amount of energy and determination it took for her to take up competing in bike races in Alaska. However, she is incredibly lucky not to have perished somewhere out there. Her solo biking with no prior planning to speak of put her in danger of hypothermia a number of times. I may pick up another of her books in the future but not now.

  24. 5 out of 5

    LL

    Not that good or bad. After reading a couple of books about biking across Europe and biking the Contental Deviide trail this one falls short of those other ones. This is only one persons opinion so on the whole it means zero. This author has a lot of tenacity and you have to admire that. A lot of minutiae i wasn't interested in spoiled the story for me. Not that good or bad. After reading a couple of books about biking across Europe and biking the Contental Deviide trail this one falls short of those other ones. This is only one persons opinion so on the whole it means zero. This author has a lot of tenacity and you have to admire that. A lot of minutiae i wasn't interested in spoiled the story for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    S Herman

    I really loved the early part of the book for descriptions of the Alaskan landscapes and seasons. I only gave it three stars because it seemed to dissolve into more of an athletic biography, which I found more boring. It did give me more insight into that mindset.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thebestdogmom

    Another great book by Jill.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Schloesser

    Thanks for your writing. Thank you for a fine read Jill. This book brought back fond memories of Alaska. Now, I will read more of your books.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sabine

    An easy enough read. I just wish the title and cover text had made it clearer that this book is mostly about bicycling. I probably would not have picked it up, had I known.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I don't think the blog posts (?) before each chapter added anything. I don't think the blog posts (?) before each chapter added anything.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cornelia

    This is a fun, enjoyable and interesting read. Well written, easy to connect with and inspiring and I learned a lot about Alaska.

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