History of Wolves

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Blog Update: I will get to writing more recent reviews soon. I am currently reading IT by Stephen King, which is such a large novel that it is taking ages. I have also been sent some books by publishers that I promise to get to soon! Please bear with me!

I must warn you readers, this book is not about wolves. The cover and title are extremely deceiving but I guess it teaches us that old lesson of ‘not judging a book by its cover’. I actually found this book through my love of books about animals and although I found out it was not a book about wolves when I read the blurb, I still picked it up as it did sound like an interesting read.

Emily Fridlund’s debut novel focuses on a young girl named Madeline (who goes by the name of ‘Linda’). Linda lives in a shack with her parents, isolated from other people apart from at school. That is until the Gardner family move in across the lake. On her walks through the woods,  Linda befriends Patra Gardner and her son, Paul. She soon becomes a babysitter for Paul but all does not seem right in the Gardner household.

Meanwhile, another student from Linda’s school takes centre stage, Lily. Lily becomes involved with the history teacher, Mr. Grierson and when he is charged with the possession of child pornography, Linda is affected on an emotional level.

The first thing I will say about this book is that is is weird. It is actually the strangest book I have read this year. Even though I read it a number of months ago, I cannot get my head around it and how I feel about it.

I think the reason I still feel weird about this novel is that it is told through the eyes of Linda, a teenager with an isolated upbringing who lacks social skills and does not react normally to social cues. Fridlund’s writing is so beautiful that you are easily placed into Linda’s world and her unique situation. Linda is bullied and dreams of walking in her classmate, Lily’s ‘beautiful’ shoes. It is only her relationship with Paul that releases her of her issues.

Fridlund is very good at writing the landscape and making you feel as though you are stepping in the woods or in the snow. Her writing haunts you to the bone and you feel uneasy with every step that Linda takes. Unfortunately though, Fridlund adds far too many layers to the story. There are a lot of promising plot points that are not expanded on or tied together at the end. The focus is the main plotline and causes other points to be lost entirely. The story is an incredibly weighty story with a lot of moral dilemmas for the reader to question but I cannot help but wish for more points to have been expanded on.

The story is told in two parts and the first part is exceptional as the reader gets to know the author’s writing style, the landscape, and the world of the teenage narrator. However, the second part is confusing. There is a new timeline and you get lost in Linda’s new life, trying to get away with the situation she became immersed in with the Gardner’s and their son.  I understand it is about her subjective point of view and what she wants to say or what she saw but there is something lost in doing this.

There was a lot more in this story that I wanted to learn but I am not a fan of sequels and I know that this is good as a stand alone book. I gave it three stars. It is a good book and if anything, the description of the landscape and the haunting way Emily Fridlund writes will definitely have you enjoying this book – just note that it is strange.

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