Out of Necessity

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
354 Pages
Reviewed on 05/12/2018
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

I have always been interested in history and in particular how ordinary people just trying to make a living dealt with the times. 120 years ago society didn't have the safety nets that it does today nor did the common worker always receive fair treatment. In Out Of Necessity I have attempted to show the lengths one man will go to care for his family and redeem himself in the eyes of his wife.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Out of Necessity by John Hansen is the story of a man who was quite satisfied with his existence, but circumstances changed the course of his life and took it in directions he never even imagined. This is the story of Myles Keegan, a man who believes in earning an honest living and being content with it. He works as a logger and is happy with the way things are, even though he barely earns enough to make ends meet. He has a happy life with a wife and a son whom he loves and who love him back.

However, his life takes a turn for the worse when his job and his financial security are threatened. So, to protect himself and the future of his family, he decides to take a risk. If luck works in his favor, he might be able to end all of their troubles, but if he fails, he could lose everything he has worked hard to achieve. What can an ordinary man like Myles Keegan do when he is faced with the threat of losing everything? Can he even do anything about it?

The story is simple yet extremely powerful. Set in 1897, the writing style of the author reflects that era. Nothing was out of context; everything was appropriate for that time period, which I enjoyed immensely. Myles is a complex character, someone who is not that easy to love but his determination is admirable. I enjoyed the way he perceived situations, how he took chances and when he made a decision, he stuck with it. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Jack Magnus

Out of Necessity is an historical fiction novel written by John Hansen. Myles Keegan loved being the high climber of the logging crew, the one who literally risked life and limb to prepare the 200-plus foot-tall Grand firs for processing. He loved the challenge of making the climb, but thirsted even more for the mind-expanding views of the endless green tree tops to the north of where they were cutting. His high-rig reveries, as he climbed, were suddenly interrupted by the impatient queries of Pete Boyett, his crew boss. Myles had reached the point where he decided to make the cut, and had pondered briefly the insanity of his habitual Irish jig on the newly flattened wood, something that was now an expected tradition. As he stood up, he could see the Pacific over to the west -- all that water was a mesmerizing sight. Then he heard Boyett again, and he began the slow and careful descent, which suddenly and inexplicably became a headlong, uncontrolled fall. Myles woke up some hours later in the local hospital. He was informed that he’d not be working any time soon, and that he would be responsible for his own medical costs. Somehow, his wife would have to cover the loss of his wages and support him and their son with her job at the Chinook Cafe. The old man in the bed next to him had another idea, however; a crazy idea that seemed impossible at first. But, somehow, all the impediments to that old man’s plan seemed to dissolve away, almost too easily. Without quite comprehending it, Myles was poised on the brink of an incredible, dangerous and unlikely adventure.

I’ve long been fascinated by the stories of those dreamers who got the gold fever and ventured north with little more than hopes and dreams, so Myles’ story instantly resonated with me. While I wondered at the sanity of approaching the Chilkoot Pass in the dead of winter, I could understand the need for timing in finding that all-important claim before the good ones all disappeared. John Hansen’s story is the stuff grand adventures are made of. The reader is privy to Myles’ fears about the challenges ahead even as he frets over his wife and the whispers he’s heard about her fidelity. The rafting adventure is marvelous indeed. I could hear the rapids roaring as they poled their way along the river and feel the tension as the two men struggle to keep their raft afloat against all odds. Hansen gets the history behind the Gold Rush, and those who exploited the miners are definitely a part of this historically accurate tale. He also created some unforgettable characters, especially Myles, Irene, Charlie and Muttley, the injured dog Myles rescues and befriends. Out of Necessity is a grand and enthralling story that vividly brings the realities of the Gold Rush to life. It’s most highly recommended.

Romuald Dzemo

Out of Necessity by John Hansen follows the story of Myles Keegan, a logger in the woods of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, a man who enjoyed what he did, but who didn’t earn much from it to give his wife and son a good life. He has been a controlled and used man, barely making ends meet financially, but then one day in the fall of 1897, compelled by necessity, he sets out on an adventure that would either make or break him. But deep inside, he knows he must take this step, however challenging. The outcome is for the reader to discover.

One of the things that caught my attention as I started reading Out of Necessity is the character building. It doesn’t take long to notice that Keegan and his friend are unlettered and uncouth, thanks to John Hansen’s skillful handling of dialogue, which allows characters to reveal themselves through the way they speak. The tone and the rough accents are so diligently captured in the conversations like in this excerpt: “Herb shook his head with a knowing grin on his face. “You gonna take a gander when ya git on top ah her?” Myles Keegan laughed. “Hell yeah. That’s the best part ah being ah high rigger, seein’ things like a bird does.” Readers get a lot of such conversations and they reflect the setting and traits of the characters who are, among other things, three-dimensional and very real. The plot is well developed and the psychological aspects of the conflict allow readers to gain a deeper understanding of the characters. Fast-paced and gripping, this tale is an interesting story that transports readers to another time and age in US history and culture.