I didn’t know what else to put for the title! This novel is a bit too weighty to merit a jokey/ glib title, so we’ll all have to roll with it.
I checked this book out from my local library (let us all praise libraries for a second) and I expected it to be about magic/ folklore, and while elements of this were incorporated into the plot, the overarching story is one that is more dark and sad.
*spoilers to follow; topic warning- child abuse*
The entire book is told from the point of view of Green, an “ungrown” or child on a commune in England. From her eyes we see the various persons and doings within the house, including the strict and changeable Freya, whom Green idolises. While reading, you come to see the cruel ways in which Freya controls the children in the house, stating that it’s a way to remove the “Bad” from them. In my mind, I interpreted it as ensuring that they would never question or rebel against her.
Blue enters the story as a baby, and is identified as having a more rebellious disposition. She receives the largest share of inhumane punishments, and gets thrown under the bus by Green so that Green may remain in Freya’s good graces.
In the middle of the book, it switches to Green’s current life where the house has closed and she is lost and wandering through her life, unable to cope with the “outside” as she had never been exposed to it prior to crumbling of the house. It exposes her inner turmoil surrounding the house, Freya, and the event which led to the closing of the house.
This book was very gripping, and depicted how children can be swayed and trapped in a relationship where love is provided conditionally. It was heartbreaking to read through the portions where the children suffered, and to see how the other adults merely sat by. There are redeeming characters but they are redeeming only in that they leave the commune out of protest.
I found it a bit trying to read as multiple euphemisms were thrown into the mix within the space of a couple of pages. I did catch on eventually, but I spent several minutes trying to figure out what Wasserberg was trying to allude to. Speech in the book is also given with hyphens rather than quotation marks. Stylistically, I felt a little meh about that.
Overall, I would say give it a read! But be prepared to be sad.
What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions for me to check out?
Cite your ish:
– Book cover