Chasing Montana: A Love Story

Chasing Montana: A Love Story

Orem, Tina
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Chasing Montana: A Love Story
by Lori Soderlind
The University of Wisconsin Press
Madison, Wisconsin
272 pages

Yes, we reviewed a book with “A Love Story” in the title. But it was worth it. Chasing Montana is an autobiographical story about a New Jersey woman who quits her reporting job to retrace the steps of her ancestors, who left Wisconsin to homestead in Rapelje in 1916.

What the author sees and does in Rapelje and other parts of Montana changes her life, and her “outsider’s” take on Bozeman and the surrounding area is pretty interesting if you live here. But what’s really great about this book is that it explores the journey so many Bozemanites have taken in their own lives—leaving “the real world” of major cities to find something better and more fulfilling.

I mean, let’s face it, more and more of us aren’t from here, but we’ve all come here for a reason. We all had ideas about this place before we got here, and we all had that moment when we wondered whether the change was worth it. This is why Chasing Montana is great. It’s an artful, emotional, funny exploration of the temptations and troubles of life back in the real world, why some of us leave it behind (and some of us can’t), and whether it matters.

So yes, there is a love story in Chasing Montana (and it is skillfully and sweetly written), but the book’s bigger message is about how each of us handles that day when we ask ourselves whether we’re working to live or living to work; whether we’re living the way we’re expected to or the way we want to; and whether we ought to do something about it.

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