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Scoria Roads


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Read Excerpt Two

Here is a dynamic memoir set mostly in the barren prairie of western North Dakota where hardship and heartbreak are mirrored in the landscape. In this captivating read of short stories with letters to her sister, Knapp shows us how living with loss, abuse, divorce, poverty, and domestic violence can give us life lessons.

After each letter Knapp writes heart-rending stories about living in twenty different houses in her first twenty-one years. This is a touching meditation on what it means to love, lose, accept, and negotiate fate’s obstacle courses. The memoir is filled with Knapp’s towns and landscapes changed from the sweet safe ’40s and ’50s to a chaotic world today caused by a blistering oil boom.

Throughout we learn tidbits on North Dakota’s and our nation’s histories, the Norwegian immigration and their early mores and traditions, and how family can provide a safety net, binding us together. Ultimately, Scoria Roads is a profound affirmation of the importance of hope, love, caring teachers, resiliency, and extended family.


“I enjoyed “Scoria Roads” immensely and will treasure it. I found the book refreshing with a mix of current events entwined with the strength of family roots, love, and endurance. Norma’s words are an inspiration! —Karen Tolifson, Alexandria, MN