i got this book from netgalley (thank you, netgalley) and i read it wayyy back in october, when i was helping my dad move. the netgalley archive date wasn’t until march, so i thought “i have plenty of time to review it!” but between various holidays and mood swings and whatnot, i kept putting it off and when i finally went to check my notes and bookmarks yesterday, i realized that the netgalley archive date has NOTHING TO DO with the expiration date on the e-reader and it has gone POOF into the ether, taking my bookmarks with it. lesson learned.
and now i gotta write a review based on a memory of a book i read in the middle of moving and holidaying and mood swinging and all of it, so it’s probably not going to be my finest hour.
but look at how cute this aardvark is, right?
i downloaded another digital copy from netgalley, but no notes, no bookmarks, none of the pull quotes i’d selected, and since my brain is old and porous, this might not go well. but let’s see.
the problem is that this was one of those books that i liked well enough, but it didn’t leave me gasping. it’s a medium-karen book, which has things that karen loves in a book like survival and snow and interlocking storylines, but it didn’t stick to my ribs afterwards, so it’s hard for me to recapture my impressions on this one.
when in doubt, retreat into plot-regurgitation.
this is a split narrative between two women: amy raye – wife and mother and experienced hunter/outdoors enthusiast who becomes separated from her companions in the vast and snowy colorado wilderness, and pru – the search-and-rescue ranger with an awesome dog named kona who is tasked with finding her.
pru’s story is written in first person, while amy raye’s is in third, which sets up some delicious tension in the “will amy raye make it?” department. and it was, truly, harrowing. i forget how long this story covers, but it is way longer than anyone needs to be lost in the blizzarding conditions of colorado, experienced survivalist or no. and it was full of survival tips (which, without my bookmarks, i have forgotten and will now most likely die in the wilderness of queens pretty soon), and through it all was woven the backstories of both women from childhood on; families, losses, mistakes, so the reader gets the sense of who these women are, what’s at stake, who’s gonna miss them, and what led them to this point in their lives.
the nature descriptions and survival elements were great; i remember there being a lot of detail and some technical explanations that left me no doubt as to the author’s personal knowledge and/or research skills. and the ways amy raye overcame obstacles along the way seemed to call upon reasonable ingenuity and not superhero feats, although wayyy beyond my own fatcat endurance.
what keeps it from being a four-
star cat for me is that it was too tidy for my tastes. which isn’t necessarily about a lack of ambiguity or open-endedness, although that certainly is a part of it. it’s more that it feels like a mirrored checklist, where points in each woman’s life are ticked off, addressed, juxtaposed: family, relationship, career, self-image, and that makes it seem a little fussy and overworked instead of the kind of story that bowls you over like a tidal wave with “where did this even come from??” pure inspiration. which is where my tastes run.
but definitely a good book, appropriate for book clubs and people who enjoy man vs. nature storylines.
and this is why we don’t procrastinate.