Title: I Am the Ice Worm
Author: MaryAnn Easley
ISBN: 044041444X/ Dell, 1998
Young Adult Fiction
Protagonist: 14-year-old Allison Atwood
Setting: present-day, an Inupiat village above the Arctic Circle
First Line: The coldest wind I'd ever felt in my life blasted me across the ice.
Allison's parents are divorced. She's been living with her father in southern California, but she's tired of the status quo and decides to hop a plane to visit her mother who's teaching in a small village in Alaska. On the last leg of her journey, the small plane she's in crashes, and the pilot is killed. Allison is stranded out in the ice and snow until she's found by an Inupiat trapper. Allison packs one duffle with her most prized makeup, music and clothes and climbs aboard the sled for the ride to the trapper's home.
Allison is far from ready for the intense culture shock. A true child of the ease and comfort of southern California, she can't get used to the smelly, dirty dwelling and the smelly, dirty people. They don't even have a bathroom or running water!
"Matu still lived in the Dark Ages as far as I was concerned. He'd never even eaten a pizza or ridden a surfboard or gone to Disneyland. He had a blank look on his face when I told him about some of my favorite rock groups."
After a few days have passed, she persuades a young Inupiat boy to hitch his dogs to his sled and take her to the village where her mother is teaching. They don't get far due to the weather. Allison now has to live in a village of people whose ways she does not understand or like. Will she ever be reunited with her mother?
I quite enjoyed this little tale of a young girl learning tolerance and acceotance of a culture so different from her own. I think it's something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives to curtail the onset of self-righteousness and bigotry.