May 02

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Can we just take a moment to look at the cover of this book.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Does it not make you feel light,  bouncy and all spring-like?

Well, my dear Readheads, this is Exhibit A in the case between me and ‘Don’t Judge A Book by its Cover’.

Rather than feel like I have taken a leisurely stroll through some beautiful garden, I instead feel like I am crawling out of the harshest jungle on all fours gasping for breath.

Yes, it’s one of those books.  The one I was trying to avoid.  Death, destruction, betrayal, angst, murder.  The list goes on as does my night sweats having read it.

Now all of this is not to say it is not good. It is.  It is just bleak – which is fine from time to time but I am on the Bleak Express of late and I really, really need to get off.

This tale is told from multiple perspectives giving you the full 360 of the pain our main characters have undergone.   A family of four innocently ventures to the top of a mountain one fine day to collect wood.   The two young daughters June and May (aged nine and six) are responsible for filling pitchers of lemonade. Wade the father stacks the wood and Jenny the mother, armed with a hatchet, is responsible for lopping off the small log limbs.

And then something happens….something horrible and May is dead.  You know something bad is going to happen – it suggests it on the back cover and when it happens quickly into the book, you almost sigh with relief because you think ‘ok, I made it through that.’

But the truth about what has happened is worse than you think and by the time you get to that point and you find out what really went down, this tale has well and truly sunk its teeth into you. And you just can’t stop trying to figure out why it all happened.

I won’t give away more than that.

I found this book hard and sad.  I felt sorry for some of the characters, not others.  The author does a fine job of connecting all the pieces, all the decades of living before and after the death, tying the characters and their memories together but the sadness seaps from each page and it’s hard to shake off.  It lingers.  And I guess that is the point of the story and which is ultimately what makes this good.

A book club must but that is just my two cents worth.