Praise for MOTHERTRUCKER
“...There’s truth and beauty on every page of this gorgeous and gripping book.”
“...This book should be required reading.”
“...A match struck in the dark.”
“...A sobering reflection on verbal and psychological abuse [that] honors the healing power of female friendship and questions the nature of divinity beyond its constricting patriarchal manifestations. A searching and deeply empathetic memoir.”
“In this tender and gripping tale, essayist Butcher (Visiting Hours) recounts her unlikely adventure through Alaska with the country’s only female ice trucker, the late Joy “Mothertrucker” Wiebe…Along the way, Butcher explores myriad issues with nuance and grace, including Indigenous rights, violence against women, religious hypocrisy, and environmental concerns. It’s a trip readers won’t soon forget.”
“Ms. Butcher finds a way to make her story as much about the crisscross knot that is America today as it is about her and Joy, their short time together, and those men whom women love and too often fear…it is shot through with poignant insights about that extraordinary place and the extraordinary woman who drew her there. By listening so well to that landscape and to her plucky companion, Ms. Butcher indeed finds untapped reserves of self-reliance, and finally the power to reinvent herself. She also tells a rattling good story.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“[Butcher] brings the details to vivid life as she describes both the brutally beautiful landscape and the many people she and Joy met on their brief journey together. A moving account of the impact of connection between women.”
“Her gorgeous prose is magnetic…Set against this remote landscape, the metaphor of isolation is all-encompassing. There is no cell service, no data coverage. This loneliest of roads, one of the most dangerous highways in the country, serves as a metaphor for the one in four women in America who will face intimate partner violence in this country. The harsh environment comes to represent Joy and Amy’s interior landscapes, and their journey across it charts a map toward reckoning.”
"[Mothertrucker] is a meditation on what it means to be a woman in this country and a master class in the power of brutally honest writing."
—The Washington Independent Review of Books
“No one can argue that she is not an honest and brave writer. She also is adept at blending and finding correlations in her story and that of Joy. Butcher’s prose is clear, well-composed and often appealingly humorous, especially when describing her adventures on the road with Joy.”
—The Columbus Dispatch
“It’s through the context of Butcher’s and Wiebe’s shared experiences―and their attempts at sharing what they’ve gone through with each other―that Alaska truly enters the fabric of the text…This works well. The way Alaska (and land, in general) is often portrayed in books is as a feminine force: a place that offers refuge, that provides, and that consoles…This book is the journey of Butcher’s seeing Alaska as she is journeying to revise her imaginings of people―real, imperfect, frustrating, beautiful.”
—Daily Sitka Sentinel
“Butcher’s Mothertrucker takes a nuanced look at the stories of women―specifically her’s and Wieibe’s―to understand the complexities of relationships with intimate partner violence.”
—Chicago Review of Books
“A tribute to the power of female friendship to get us through anything, including domestic abuse, Mothertrucker is a compelling story of a professor, Amy, who seeks out an Instagram celebrity ice driver, and rides shotgun on an unforgettable, 400-mile trip through Alaska.”
—Good Morning America
“Amy Butcher’s Mothertrucker is a riveting book, a dynamic portrait of an extraordinary woman—a long-haul trucker, a mother, a survivor―whose company carries us into even broader explorations of friendship, trauma, renewal, and the collision of many kinds of precarity: environmental, economic, and emotional. Butcher’s voice is tender, curious, adamant, grateful, and always, always searching for a more complicated version of the truth.”
—Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams and The Recovering
“Mothertrucker is an unputdownable page-turner, the kind that asks you to listen more closely, behold each beauty, perceive every flicker of buoyancy or trepidation. This book is an adventure into the expanse of Alaska’s wild, as luminous on the earthly plane as it is in the psyche―just as all good road trips are. Butcher’s prose is a match struck in the dark. Readers will lean into each sling of the truck and know the cumbrous lurking of violence that shadows women into definition. Amy Butcher has crafted a tribute to a savior, and created one in its making. In short: I never wanted this book to end.”
—T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
“Amy Butcher’s Mothertrucker is both an intimate portrait of an unforgettable woman and a powerful exploration of how the author finds her way to a more courageous life. There’s truth and beauty on every page of this gorgeous and gripping book.”
—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
“A beautifully written exploration of a woman’s endeavor to let go of fear and open herself to joy. Can the divine be found on the most dangerous ice road in Alaska? Or is it through our own souls’ journeys toward a most loving and merciful understanding of our own courage and pain? Or both and more? Amy Butcher takes us along for the ride with exquisite writing and heart-pounding yearning.”
—Joey Soloway, creator of Transparent and I Love Dick
“I used to wonder what it would feel like to read a nonfictive piece of art that read like a literary novel, a mystery, a feature, the best of travel writing and welcoming theory. Now I know. A lot will be written about what Amy Butcher pulls off in this book. It’s the how that is unsettling in the best way, the how that moves this book from remarkable to a gritty greatness we seldom experience in American literature.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy and Long Division
“This remarkable book is a polyphonic triumph of holy themes. It’s a stunning tribute to the life of a brilliant soul. It’s a social reckoning. It’s a call to possibility. And it’s a path to self-love. Healing is a journey, not a destination, and these pages allow us a passenger seat on Butcher’s transformative ride of a lifetime.”
—Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa and Made for Love
“This book should be required reading. Amy Butcher writes a wholly immersive and heart-stopping meditation on love, God, and intimate violence; I wanted to reach back through generations and hand this book to every woman in my family. May we all take this transforming ride on the most dangerous highway in America and become changed. We will be better for it.”
—Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot
“At once a gripping narrative, voyage of self-discovery, and manifesto of the power of female solidarity, Mothertrucker made me ache for all the women who have seen me, changed me, saved me. This book lights up the ways we as women lie to ourselves, even when we seem so strong, and recognizes that, more than any achievement or barrier broken, showing up for one another—being vulnerable with one another—will set us free.”
—Sarah Menkedick, author of Ordinary Insanity: Fear and the Silent Crisis of Motherhood in America
“An extraordinary story about the power and solace of female friendship. Butcher’s journey into the Alaskan Arctic—a place of danger and beauty—illuminates the complex psychic landscape of two women navigating domestic abuse through a deft blending of place and identity. Fearless, raw, and gripping. Butcher has written a necessary and urgent book.”
—Jen Percy, New York Times contributing writer and author of Demon Camp
“Like her subject, Joy ‘Mothertrucker’ Wiebe, Amy Butcher knows the power of women’s words, and the power of women’s friendships to disrupt and dismantle cycles of violence and despair. Mothertrucker is raw, beautiful, and at times terrifying—not unlike the Alaskan landscape its gifted author describes. But what it is more than anything else is hopeful. This book is a gift.”
—Cameron Dezen Hammon, author of This Is My Body
“Mothertrucker is a gorgeously written and immersive memoir that I binged in a day. I love this book, this story, and Amy Butcher for taking me along for the ride.”
—Mary Miller, author of Biloxi
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Accomplished college professor, mentor, and writer Amy Butcher seemingly had her life together in 2018, but privately, she was the victim of domestic violence. Embarrassed and emotionally fraught by her partner’s increasingly dangerous and explosive behavior, Amy reached out to Instagram celebrity Joy “Mothertrucker” Wiebe. Joy was a 50-year-old wife and mother and the nation’s only female ice road trucker, a woman who maneuvered big rigs across the deadliest, loneliest, and most isolated road in America, Alaska’s James W. Dalton Highway. She was everything Amy wanted to be: independent, fearless, and in charge of her life in a landscape dominated by men. After months of communication, Amy, desperate to escape her situation in Ohio, accepted Joy’s invitation to ride shotgun as she drove her massive truck up the treacherous and exhilarating Alaskan highway, discovering meaning, strength, and friendship amidst a desolate Arctic landscape.
Amy’s memoir, MOTHERTRUCKER: Finding Joy on the Loneliest Road in America, is a white-knuckle journey across one of the most punishing and magnificent landscapes on earth, a search for truth and self-discovery in the treacherous Alaskan wilderness.
MOTHERTRUCKER tells the story of their life-affirming four-hundred-mile journey navigating snow-glazed overpasses, ice-blue curves, and near plummets, along with the desperate and necessary decisions that led both women to Alaska, and to one another. It is an interrogation of the reality of female fear, abusive relationships, and America’s quiet epidemic of intimate partner violence. It’s also an exploration into just how galvanizing friendships between women can be.
Judges call Mothertrucker "very well-written, well-researched, and a positive antidote to the trauma of violence against women."
"In this tender and gripping tale, essayist Butcher (Visiting Hours) recounts her unlikely adventure through Alaska with the country’s only female ice trucker, the late Joy “Mothertrucker” Wiebe… Along the way, Butcher explores myriad issues with nuance and grace, including Indigenous rights, violence against women, religious hypocrisy, and environmental concerns. It’s a trip readers won’t soon forget."