During the annual weekend away, an accounting was done of the books from this year and it turns out I missed the write up for The Snow Child. So here we go:
The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey
Fiction is so wonderful when it can make you set aside what you know to be real and allow you to live in a world where anything is possible. It's Alaska in the 1920's and Jack and Mabel are barely making it. He works and works and works to keep their Alaska homestead alive and she's doing her part but lonely and heartbroken for the child they didn't have. They find a moment to play in the snow and form a snow child.
Either through magic or fortune soon they encounter Faina, a lovely girl with blonde hair and a fox for a friend. Faina saves them, or they save her - either way it's charming and regardless of all the evidence it's never really clear if she's real.
Among our group there was great debate upon the meaning of the ending of this tale, which leads me to believe that the ending was intentionally misleading. Consensus was positive on this particular book.
Every year we try to plan two extra curricular activities. The first is the spouse dinner. This is a challenge to find a night when fourteen people can gather at one time and child care can be obtained for eleven shorties. We've managed it for the last four years and will keep booking it.
The other event is even harder to arrange. A weekend where we ladies zip away from our broods and gather in a cozy cottage to dine on chocolate and other yummy foods, hike, do some yoga and of course, talk about the book du jour. Last year, we were warned away from our hosts cabin in Leavenworth because of late season fires and terrible air quality and this year an early winter storm kept us on the west side of the state. Lucky for us, our group has some great connections and we fell into comfortable lodgings both times. This year found us in a charming water front cabin on Vashon Island that snuggly sleeps twelve or very comfortably sleeps seven.
One of the things about the cabin that added to its wonderfulness is that you can't simply drive to the door. There is a group parking lot and then you have to walk about a third of a mile to the 11th house on the shore. The walk was quiet and with each step the hustle of life "on land" faded away.
Our book for discussion was "How To Be a Woman". Part memoir, part stand alone essays on feminism it opened the door for a lengthy discussion on topics that we ladies seldom get into with each other.
I'm sure it would be an easy thing to assume that when gals get together and shut the door they talk about body hair, dating and their weight. We really don't delve into those areas very often.
Filled with funny moments and a rather long discussion about what to name your vagina (Oh yes, I went there.) this isn't the Susan B. Anthony women's suffrage version of feminism. It's a straight forward look at our lives today and what it means as we navigate a world where we have to balance people like Kim Kardashian who are famous for goodness knows what, and Nancy Pelosi who is demonized for I'm not sure what maybe being a prickly woman with opinions and being moms, women who have serious jobs. We're told that we're equal, but the tend to typically fill the board room in the Communications and Human Resources positions.
While the book evoked a long discussion that lasted well into Sunday, we soundly didn't think we liked the author. The tone of the book was chatty and casual. Perhaps that's her way of balancing the deep topics she was tackling.
I do give her kudos for not shying away from an unpopular topic. She and her husband chose to terminate a pregnancy after they had other children. She writes about this with complete openness and acknowledgement that her decision will be (was) questioned and reviled by many.