Scoria Roads

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Price: $17.00
(+tax & shipping)
Published: May 2015

Read Excerpt One

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, blinding us together. Ultimately, Scoria Roads is a profound affirmation of the importance of hope, love, caring teachers, resiliency, and extended family.


“This book written by Norma Knapp is SO much more than an recollection of a specific time and place in rural ND. It truly captures and shares with the reader the culture of that period in the late 40’s and 50’s in a very Norwegian family living on the harsh plains of North Dakota. I found myself stepping back to that time and place and I would cry, laugh, rejoice and be angry at times. The author also weaves in the present day landscape of western ND, with the oil business and contrasts this with these earlier years by writing to her sister. The love that is felt through these letters is heart filling. The book is simple, yet complex. And as I reflect on it, I realize the tremendous healing that must of also taken place for this author as she pours her memories, feelings, and forgiveness into these pages. A well-written piece!” — Sue Connor