What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

An often funny, sometimes sober look at parenting and survival in the Colorado semi-wild.

FOR SOME, reading of three-year-olds being torn apart by mountain lions and a tragic drowning in Horsetooth Reservoir may not equate to a fun Sunday afternoon. And yet Steven Church, in his new essay collection, I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part, still manages to draw us in with an unwavering allegiance to a virtue severely lacking in today’s America: honesty.

Through pieces like “Into the Mild,” which digs into his failed attempt to live in the Poudre Canyon, and “Bright Orange Fear,” about living in Fort Collins in a Post 9/11 world, Church employs his trademark fluid prose to give voice to genuine parental fears and the endless battle that rages, inside those who inhabit the rugged West, between self-doubt and the need for exploration. Life can be tough out here; survival—for parents, children, animals—is the ultimate goal. —A.K.

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