Friday, December 31, 2010

Last memoir of the year - a Review: Here if You Need Me

Author: Kate Braestrup
Publisher/Format:Little, Brown and Company (2007),Paperback, 211 pages; also audio read by the author
Subject: grief, Maine Game warden service, dealing with death
Setting: Maine - various locations
Genre: memoir
Source: my own shelves- paperback; audio from the library

Kate Braestrup, one of the first chaplains ever appointed to the Maine Warden Service, only became a chaplain after her husband, a Maine state trooper, was killed in a freak auto accident.  It had been his intention to become a Unitarian Universalist chaplain when he retired from active police work, so following his dream, she enrolled in Bangor Theological Seminary, and was eventually ordained to the ministry.

Her exquisitely written memoir entwines a portrait of widowhood with the story of the Maine Warden service and presents the reader with a hopeful, vibrant, and uplifting story.  Using altered names and locations, she relates stories of searches for missing persons-both young and old; rescues and recoveries of those trapped below the ice or lost in the vast Maine wilderness; and heart-wrenching scenes of notify next-of-kin about deaths.  Throughout, she weaves stories of helping her four young children progress to young adulthood.  The story of learning that her son could play drums, and hearing him in the band at school, was such a delight--any mother who has ever raised a teenager through the band phase of life will be able to relate easily.

Her explanations and stories about the Maine warden service are exceptionally informative.  Many people don't realize that Maine game wardens have law enforcement duties in addition to tending to Maine's gorgeous wildlife and scenery.  The image of this petite woman with her clerical collar and keflar vest under her LL Bean jacket brought a giant smile.

She offers her insights not only from the perspective of  "chaplain" but from that of wife, mother, friend, and member of the law enforcement community.  It is not a long book, but it is one to be re-read and savored.  It brings hope with the tears, soothing with anxiety....just what one would expect from a chaplain.


  1. Hi Tina, just popping in to wish you and your family a Happy New Year. May 2011 be filled with good books, good friends, good health and much happiness.

  2. Happy New Year, Tina. Thanks for all the memories of Maine in 2010.

  3. have I mentioned that I have sworn off memoirs...but then I get tempted.
    The Maine game warden aspect has just about won me over to wanting to read this one.


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