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leah

Leah's Bookshelf

Likes: Horror, macabre, fairy tales, ghosts, hauntings, serial killers, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, time travel, orphans, clones, thrillers, classics, gothic

 

I like to read anything that tells a good story, duh ;) Genre doesn't really matter much but I tend to read dark fiction and fantasy the most. I skip chick lit and romance novels with a few exceptions for the extraordinary.

 

My ratings system:

5 stars - ADORED; plan to read over and over and over.

4 stars - ENJOYED; will likely read once or twice more.

3 stars - LIKED; may or may not read again ... someday.

2 stars - MEH; no plans to read again.

1 stars - I didn't enjoy the story and was lucky to finish.

0 stars - I couldn't or wouldn't finish for reasons that may or may not be listed in the review box.

Currently reading

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Ray Bradbury, Charlotte Gilman Perkins, Willa Carter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Washington Irving, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Nath
Progress: 225/768 pages

The Algebra of Snow: A Bedtime Story for My Mother by Ginger Moran

paperback cover the algebra of snow

Rating: 3.5 of 5

 

All in all, The Algebra of Snow was a deeply affecting, well-written story that left me a little depressed and a lot hopeful; contradictory, I know. It's definitely character-driven and consisted almost entirely of one woman's perspective, inner thoughts, and [slightly neurotic, if not totally irrational] actions during the fall, winter and early spring of her self-imposed isolation from everyone and everything in her world.

 

There were a few other characters in the novella but none as memorable as Amelia; she's flawed, stuck, confused, and haunted - traits familiar to anyone who's lived a life of ups and downs. I would've guessed her pre-menopausal if it hadn't been for what happened further into the story. But I guess you could label what she went through as a mid-life crisis.

 

Here's my biggest complaint about the book: What the eff happened to Galen?!! (This same thing perplexes me in movies, too.) I'm a huge animal nut, so I get all emotionally invested in a character's animal companion or a book's animal characters and then BAM! Nothing. Just some half-hearted speculation as to what may have happened. I can deal with unknowns when it comes to the humans in a story, but I gotta have something solid when it involves animals.

 

This leads me into why I rated the book under 4 stars (and thus probably won't read it again): Amelia's totally selfish, borderline whiny-ass behavior. I don't care how depressed a character is, how devastated she is by events in her life, or how close she is to the edge of reality, she should never neglect her animals. That's the fastest way to make me loathe the character and lose almost all compassion for her, which means I disconnect from the character and potentially the story. Oh don't lecture me; I "get" why writers do it anyway, knowing they'll alienate certain readers. I'm just saying, it affects me and my reaction to a book. For example, had that whole bit about the dogs not happened, I would've rated the book 4.5 instead of 3.5 stars.

 

I recommend The Algebra of Snow to anyone who enjoys literary fiction focused on one character, who may not make a complete transformation by the story's end, but has definitely changed as a result of their solitude and self-examination. The overall tone of the novella is not "light" and happy-ever-after; its mood definitely coincides with the weather surrounding Amelia's cabin in the woods. However, it's not the most depressing book I've read by a long shot and, in the end, I had high hopes for Amelia.

 

Side note: I absolutely LOVE the book's cover art - beautiful!

 

Disclaimer: I'm not related to or friends with the author. I won a paperback copy through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.