Before you start reading this unusual book, you need to understand the structure. Otherwise you will get frustrated and in all probability not finish it. That would be tragic because it is a well-written, fascinating story. Evie Wyld created a world from the point of view of a very unreliable character. Her name is Jake. Yes, that’s right. A boy’s name in a girl’s body. Trust me that isn’t the only anomaly in this book.
Wyld writes in a breezy, easy to read style. But she creates complex characters. Her structure fascinated me, a writer. As a reader I may have been less fascinated. You begin the story in Jake’s point of view in the present time. That first chapter sets up Jake’s present world but in the past tense. The second chapter flashes back to Jake’s earlier life, but told in the present tense. Now the fun begins. Chapter three continues moving the present forward. So far, you’re thinking, what’s so strange about this? Right? Here we go into Chapter four. Wyld takes us into the past, but closer to the present. In other words, the present chapters move forward in time and the past chapters move backward. Got it?
You may say that’s too confusing to read, but don’t. Once I realized the pattern, I was anxious to keep reading. The reader knows something very bad happened in Jake’s past to bring her to the present state she was in. You know she was running from someone or something. As the past moves further back in time, a little is revealed, but not all is revealed until the very end. The pieces of the puzzle finally come together at the end. Quite satisfyingly.
As an animal lover, I had some trouble with the descriptions of the slaughter of sheep. Other than that, I found the book an excellent read. Wyld writes like a poet. Every word counts. Here’s one example:
“There’s that solid heat that gets bounced down on us from the tin roof, and the flies in here are fat and damp–when they land around your mouth, you feel like you’ve been kissed by something dead.”
What is this story about? It’s about survival. It’s about tragedy.
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