Ready for a true story that will chill you to your bones? It doesn’t get much chillier than Antarctica. At a low point in her personal life, Jerri Nielsen made the decision to apply for the position of doctor at a South Pole research station. The continent was entirely covered with ice, and had temperatures that sank to 100 degrees below zero. It was owned by no country, was inhabited only by scientific teams, and was impossible to land a plane on for two-thirds of the year. While Jerri’s father was doubtful about the job, her mom thought it was a great idea:
“My mother, typically, was excited. She thought I needed an adventure at this time in my life. She believed that when things were really in the dumps, you were better off not going down the same path repeatedly, trying to make small adjustments. You needed a total paradigm shift, a new hypothesis, in order to make discoveries. And, speaking as a psychologist, she felt that if my kids saw me strong and in a new life, they might have the courage to come back to me. She believed that children instinctively ally themselves with the more powerful parent. It all added up, and Mom was very clear: You’d be nuts not to go, Duff.”
So Jerri went to the South Pole. It was exciting work, but also exhausting. Because the air was so thin, it took some time for her body to adjust. She was the only doctor in the compound, and she had other duties on top of her medical ones. Just about the time she felt acclimated to Antarctica, she found out she had cancer. What happens when the only doctor on the continent needs a doctor?
What I enjoyed most about this book were the descriptions of everyday life, of how they rationed water and electricity, and how they managed to keep themselves warm in the coldest place on earth.