The Snow Child: A Novel

Link to book description here.

By Eowyn Ivey

This book was lent to me by my mom (with raving reviews)

I will be the first to admit – my book reviews need a little help.  I don’t like to summarize the whole book and I have trouble putting my thoughts into words.  When discussing this with my husband, a writer by trade, he suggested trying to measure how much I like a book in a different way.  We quickly learned that the speed in which I finish a book is a good indicator.  Not that that is breaking news but I thought it was a good start.

The Snow Child – I read the first 2-3 chapters and it sat on my nightstand.  The hour or two at night that I set aside to read – I would find other distractions – games, puzzles, browsing for more free books.  I read a few more chapters, and there it sat again.  I’m not a quitter, so I decided I just need to power through.  Not an inordinate amount of time – but over a week to finish a book is a lot for me.  But I am happy to report that I did finish and I’m very happy I did!

The book is divided into 3 parts.  Part 1 was not the hook that I usually like to get entranced in a book.  It sets the scene of the book.  An older couple leaves a comfortable, yet predictable life in the contiguous US and moves up to Alaska to live off the land and develop their “homestead” in the 1920’s.  It’s hard to imagine why anyone would do this and those first few chapters of Jack and Mabel barely speaking, living in the middle of nowhere, having 6 hours of sunlight a day, and scraping by don’t help to answer that question.  There is very little dialogue and while the author is definitely gifted at writing, I felt it just dragged on and on.

Part 2 – enter in the “fairy tale” part of the book.  I tend to not like books with things that can’t actually happen (fantasy, scifi, etc…)  This wasn’t outlandish and worked well into the story.  The addition of Faina to the story was very welcome and I began reading faster to learn about her.  Jack and Mabel had a definite shift in their personalities and the book reflected that and became much more enjoyable.  The author continued with beautiful descriptions and really drew you into the story.  I had to get past a few of the “roughing it” parts – I could have lived without knowing how to dress a moose, but it does paint a very descriptive picture of Alaska in the 1920’s.

Part 3 – I read this section in just a few hours.  Could not put it down!  The books goes in a direction that I did not see coming.   I was furiously turning pages until the very end.  Without giving away the ending, I will say that it is not the type of ending I usually like, but it was perfect for this book.  It leaves something to be desired, but I think that is what the author wanted.  It fits with the entire book and leaves the reader thinking, which I believe is the sign of a good book.

So thank you mom.  I am glad I stuck with it and could write, what I feel, is my most thoughtful review to date.  But that is what I hope to do throughout this blog – get out of my comfort zone and say YES to books that I may not have picked up on my own (especially if they are FREE to me!)

If you would have asked me a few days ago, I would not have recommended this book.  But having powered through and completed it – I would say stick with it and you will be very happy you did.  I was.

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