Eva Holland is in the middle of a 10-day backcountry canoe trip on the Stikine River in northwestern British Columbia when she gets the news she’s dreaded her entire life—her mother has had a stroke and is on life support. Two days after Holland arrives at her side, her mother passes away.

Most of us do not live in constant fear of our parents dying, but Holland’s mother lost her own mother at a young age, and the trauma of that experience was present throughout Holland’s childhood. As a result, Holland learned to fear becoming a motherless child too. “People often talk about the fear of the unknown, and fair enough—we do tend to be wary of the strange and new. But we can also learn to fear what we know,” she writes in her new memoir, Nerve: Adventures in Science and Fear (The Experiment, April 2020).

Read the full review online at Sierra Magazine.

Monica Prelle © 2023 All Rights Reserved