Review of Karen Hill Anton’s The View From Breast Pocket Mountain and
22 July 2021​​​
© Don MacLaren, 2021
Jiangsu Province, China

I have read numerous memoirs and autobiographies; The View From Breast Pocket Mountain is as good as they come!

Karen Hill Anton has lived a wonderful and courageous life, and we are fortunate she has told us her life stories in this very fine book.

She recounts her many adventures and tragedies, as well as interactions with colorful characters, as she leads us on her life journey from New York City where she was born in 1945, to coming of age experiences in Europe and San Francisco in the 1960s, then on to Asia and ultimately Japan. Anton gives this reader hope that one can succeed by growing through diverse experiences even though the difficulties within those experiences might seem close to insurmountable at times.

There are many people Anton writes about I wish I could have met. First and foremost is her loving, single father, who raised three children on his own while Anton’s mother was institutionalized for mental illness.

Anton’s treks through Europe and later the Middle East and East Asia are told in a gripping, fascinating way. I sometimes wondered if she would ever make it to Japan (even though I knew from The Japan Times columns she wrote that she would) – after all the difficulties she went through, while traveling with her young daughter and her husband to be.

After arriving in Japan, Anton begins the psychological trek of adapting to life there – which is no easier than the physical trek of traveling across Eurasia.

For every trial, tribulation, villain or fool in her book, there is at least an equal number of joys, wonders, heroes and heroines. Anton has done such a fine job of living life and articulating it in her book that I consider her one of the best role models I have come across in fiction, non-fiction or life itself.

Japan is lucky to have someone as talented as Anton as one of its residents, and I am lucky to have read her book!