Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

There is nothing more amazing than being engulfed into a novel. To be submerged into the livelihood of it, it's characters are an extension of you, their surroundings are vividly clear in your mind. When you start reading, you enter a different world. Some novels do this better than others, no matter how good the story is. The God of Animals is one of those books that immersed my whole being into it's story.

And how mismatched a story could be to lasso me in (a pun, but one you won't get until later...but I laughed at myself as I wrote it). This is narrated by 12 year old Alice. Alice lives on a horse farm in the desert of Colorado. It depicts the life she lives with her non-stop-hard-labor working dad and her depressed mother, who lives only in the bedroom.

Family life apparently was A-OK until big sis Nona married and left, unexpectedly, with her new husband. Nona was *the* star of the family, with regards to riding and showing horses. She was the one that helped lure clients into the business: look at her, we can train you to ride and show just like her.

But life went downhill after that and the first few pages hook you by the soft focus on Polly Cain, a fellow classmate who was found dead in the canal near Alice's home. Polly Cain would be a thread throughout this story, but in a very strange way.

Alice and the life her family lives is downright sad. The struggle to find clients, to make ends meet, to work so hard every single hour of the day to only barely scrape by...to 'sell your soul to the devil' by giving in to what you don't stand for...anything to make money to pay for the bills and food.

Poor Alice, a rising seventh grader who has no friends at school, has to wear clothes and shoes a size or two too small. Her father never notices this and she never asks.

It's an intriguing story that had me hook, line and sinker. Extremely sad and extremely brutal in many parts of this story. But by far, my favorite of the year.

Yes, I know. It's only January. But amazing for me to have found a book that just captivated me. And it's a good start of the year for reading, as this is two in a row that I have just loved.

Aryn Kyle writes magnificently. There is nothing flawed in her prose. It is rich, unobtrusive, and refined. I look forward to her next novel, Boys and Girls Like You and Me, which comes out in April.

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