Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book Review: Winter of the Wolf

It probably isn't good that I feel like it is the end of the day Friday when it is only.... Tuesday, right? Yikes. I feel like I have so much to do this week and I really, truly do not. We were thinking about maybe driving to a zoo we haven't been to before but with more Covid positive cases Matt and I changed our minds so our weekend is free at this point. Well, we have a plan B that (hopefully) involves interacting with zero people, so we'll see. But if you're like me and basically reading the entire the summer away, do I have a book for you! 
Winter of the Wolf - Martha Hunt Handler
An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding. 

Both tragic and heartwarming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean's world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. Winter of the Wolf is about seeking the truth—no matter how painful—in order to see the full picture.

In this novel, environmentalist and award-winning author, Martha Handler, brings together two important pieces of her life—the death of her best friend’s son and her work as president of the Wolf Conservation Center—to tell an empathetic and powerful story with undeniable messages.
I am always on the hunt for something different, something I haven't read a thousand times before. I like different settings and time periods, different religions and beliefs, anything different. When I saw that this was a debut author I was intrigued and then when I saw that the description involves the Inuit culture? I was all in because I haven't ever read a book centered around that. Throw in the fact that it is a mystery/thriller around what everyone thought was a suicide? I'm all in. I could not be more in and I am so glad that I was. 

First off, the book is only 236 pages long but beyond that there is a really great author Q&A which covered a couple of the things that I wondered, particularly what made her write a book with this specific topic, and that was covered. I so badly want to tell you the topic, and the manner of death in this book, but I can't because it is a MAJOR piece of the mystery and you need to read the book for it. I will tell you that I have never, never in all of my 38 years, read a book that involved that topic. If you're around these parts I have read everything from child abuse to dinosaur erotica (its a for real thing.. lol) so the fact she surprised me? I love it. 

I have to also mention the book, obviously, deals with death quite a bit and I really loved the author's take on it. As someone who technically died, I definitely feel a lot differently about death than I did before. She offers a really interesting list of books and reading to expand the thoughts and maybe feelings you'll be left with once you finish this book and I really appreciate that because a few of them were already on my list to read so seeing her reference them is making me purchase them sooner. I also had a lot of question about the Inuit culture and there are a few resources for that as well. 

I also have to say, I really loved Bean. Bean is smart and strong, but she also knows when she's right and I loved her perseverance throughout the book.The book shows the turmoil, and guilt, that each family member feels in the wake of Sam's death and it is just a good exploration of all of the feelings and then a teenager making her own way through them. There is a passage on page 118 that I really loved and I feel like every one of us can identify with it, whether it is with death or even world events right now: 
"You think I'm crazy, don't you?" I ask. 

He finally turns to face me. "It's not important whether or now I believe you. What's important is what you believe. You know I've had a lot of time to think about all this -- about Sam and his Inuit beliefs and his certainty that everything had a deeper meaning. What I've come to understand is that you and Sam, and your mother, see things much differently than I do. I always thought my way was right, and you were all a bit off, but I suppose I was being arrogant and, well, maybe even a bit ignorant. The truth is that we each view the world through our own unique lenses. I have a hard time seeing out of your lenses, and you probably have an equally difficult time seeing out of mine, but can choose to accept our differences." 
By the time I finished this book, my heart broke a little more for Sam, and I was happy that Bean was able to get some kind of closure over her brother's death, I felt terrible for Skip, and it left me feeling like I actually knew these people. Such a great book and it covers a lot of issues teens could learn about. They sometimes exhibit risky behaviors because they think its safe, or they'll be OK and a lot of times that's just not the case. Highly recommend. 

A huge thank you to the author and FSB Associates for having me on this book tour and sending me a copy for review! 

1 comment:

Why Girls Are Weird said...

Oh man, another book to add to my Goodreads list! It's getting quite long!