History of Wolves
By Emily Fridlund
Even a lone wolf wants to belong....
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak', or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices, whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on.
So when the perfect family - mother, father and their little boy, Paul - move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit. She begins to babysit Paul and feels welcomes, that she finally has a place to belong.
But something isn't right. Drawn into secrets she doesn't understand, Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledge of the world understand what the consequences will be?
I was looking forward to reading A History of Wolves when I requested it but I have to say I was disappointed.
The writing style was beautifully descriptive and from that point of view it was a joy to read but I frequently found myself becoming bored. I only made it to 50% and I struggled to even get that far into it.
Originally, I was going to say I disliked the characters in the book but that isn’t true. The truth is I didn’t care about them at all, I didn’t have an opinion either way.
Linda is 14 years old and has grown up with her parents in a cabin in an abandoned commune with her ‘parents.’ Linda is unsure if they are her real parents or just the last two adults to stick around.
She doesn’t have a particularly close relationship with her mother but spend some quality time with her dad doing chores.
At school Linda is commonly referred to as ‘Commie’ or ‘freak’ and has nobody she is particularly close to. She is an average student at best.
One thing Linda has a particular talent for is wilderness survival skills and for observing nature.
In the book she has two obsessions 1. A teacher of hers being accused of possessing child pornography and his relationship with one of her schoolmates, Lily. 2. A seemingly normal family who move in to a cabin across the lake.
The husband works away a lot but Linda soon makes friends with Petra and her son Paul. Linda looks after Paul for $10 a day for a few hours after school. She feels a connection with this family that she clearly doesn’t feel with her own family.
I felt like nothing happened in the book and the things that did happen were under-whelming to say the least.
We know from the beginning that Paul dies, “before Paul, I’d known just one person who’d gone from living to dead.”
Linda becomes embroiled with the fate of the family and the effects of this are long-lasting.
“At the trial, they kept asking, ‘When did you know for sure there was something wrong?’ And the answer probably was, right away. But that feeling faded as I got to know him. Paul’s breathy way of talking, the way he had to sit down when he got excited – these tendencies seemed to me, more and more, just the way he was.”
This was one of the few books I have chosen not to finish reading, it just wasn’t for me.
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