May 15, 2012

Book Review: The Snow Child (Giveaway!)

I had little to no expectation of me liking this book.

I bought it because the author lives in my little Alaskan town.  And everyone kept talking about it.

It's been on the best-seller lists in Europe.  (Specifically those snowy, Siberian-like countries that can identify with Alaska, I'm sure.)

At the local bookstore, where the author works coincidentally, they were selling autographed copies for $25.

"I can't pass up a conversation piece and I do like to read", I thought to myself....

I had to.  $48 later, I left the bookstore.  There was also a Little House on the Prairie Craft and Cook Book that caught my eye.  A rational, practical purchase if there ever was one.

So.  The Snow Child.

A middle-aged, childless couple, Jack and Mabel, move to Alaska in 1920 from Pennsylvania.  They go to "get away from it all" because Mabel is sick of people treating her like an outcast because she was never able to have children.  (Clearly she didn't live in the same Alaska I do, because everyone and their army wife friend is having at least 1 baby per 18 months these days.)

This is what Amazon has to say:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina (FAH-EE-NA), seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

The reason I expected not to like the book was because it was about Alaska (duh). 
However, I found myself identifying with Mabel.  She wasn't happy about her situation, but she made the best of things and compartmentalized her thoughts to get through the day.

For example, if I sat around thinking about how much I truly miss Scott all day, I wouldn't get anything done.
She bakes (!) as a distraction.  She sews (um no).  She makes a friend (I have a few).  She finds ways to live in a place far away from home.

By the end of the story, it's so much less focused on Jack and Mabel and more focused on Faina.  The story had evolved while I was reading it.  As someone who hates fan-fiction/chick lit writing, I thought this story was wonderfully written.  (Props to Ms. Ivey!  She got me to read about Alaska...and like it!)

Because I spent $1000 on Alaska history credits teach Alaska history, I know a lot about how people came to AK, what they did, why they came, and the progression of things from territory to statehood.  So I could place story events on a timeline and utilize my prior knowledge

But you totally don't need prior knowledge of Alaska or the wilderness to enjoy the book.  It reads like a very pleasant story.  Sad in some parts, joyful in others.  It does not come across as chick lit, which I was grateful for. I really did enjoy it and I lent the book to a friend as soon as I was finished.

So while it isn't exactly the season for such things (the book first went on sale February 1st), I'm going to give away an *AUTOGRAPHED* copy of The Snow Child to one lucky-duck reader!

What do you have to do to win??
Leave a comment telling me what your very favorite book is.  That's it!  I'm looking for reading material for my summer vacation, so recommendations are welcome.

Giveaway ends at midnight on Wednesday, May 23.
*I'm not being compensated for this review.  I purchased both my copy of the book and the copy I'm giving away.  These thoughts are entirely my own.*


  1. I don't love any book more than the Harry Potter series (it's hard to narrow it down to just one of those!), but I recently read Ella Minnow Pea and thought it was adorable!

  2. my favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham!

  3. Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier. It's amazing. I'm on my fifth copy because I love books too much.

  4. I love books! I don't know if I can pick a favorite. Most recently, I like 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'. I read at least a book a week, and like Charlie in that story, my favorite is 'whatever I am reading right now.'

  5. Goodnight Moon because it can get my son to go to bed at night LOL.

  6. Oh, gosh. A fav? hmm. Harry Potter! LOL But you probably already knew that's a fan favorite. Recently, I've enjoyed A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

  7. Way too hard to choose my favorite. But favorite of all time? Would be one of the Little House Books. Probably The Long Winter.

    {Will that help me win? :)}

    And, um, where's the review of that recipe and craft book? I WANT IT.

  8. sadly I don't think I have an all time favorite book! Due to teaching and reading books to my nieces/nephews my favorite kids books are the Shel Silverstein books!

  9. An oldie, but a goodie... Gone With the Wind.

  10. I'm looking for books to stock up on for summer reading. If you view my "Recent Reads" page, I've read most of my list.

    Anyway, my most favorite book is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. If you're into English history, Philippa Gregory writes amazing historical fiction about the Tudors.

  11. My favorite book of all time is the Bible! It gives me strength from day to day!

  12. My favorite yearly read is this present darkness :) love that it reminds me that spiritual warfare is *real* despite being a fictional book! Also a stellar read is the Camel Club by baldacci- it's a series-I have read it twice- listened to it twice on audio tape... awesome!!! You'll have to tell Me what you think if you find the time!


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