Carry Me

I’m almost done my Evergreen books for the year – my ninth book was Peter Behrens’ Carry Me. It tells the story of Billy Lange and Karin Weinbrenner and their lives in Germany between WWI and WWII. I went through a period a few years ago when I was obsessed with WWI and WWII and read everything I could get my hands on until I reached my saturation point, and since then I kind of steered clear so I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about this one.

Carry Me by Peter Behrens

I wanted to like this book, I really did. It tells an important story and gives a very different perspective – looking back at WWII Germany we always ask how such a thing could happen, and Billy shows us just how a normal man caught up in his day-to-day life might let those early signs slip by him. 

But Karin – ugh! She goes through some horrible events and does brave and heroic things and yet even with all of that the only impression I get of her is poor little rich girl.’ She’s reminds me of Daisy Buchanan and Lady Brett Ashley, the type of woman who only really exists for the male protagonist to brood over. It’s a shame, Behrens is an extremely talented writer and he plays with the narrative in some quite interesting ways, but I just couldn’t get past my distaste for those main characters (although given the amount of literary acclaim it’s received I guess most people don’t feel the same).

 

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The Break

I don’t know what to say about this Evergreen book except that it was a really tough read.

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Katherena Vermette’s The Break tells the story of one fateful event on a cold winter’s night. We get many perspectives on this tragedy and the events leading up to it and its aftermath. As the book progresses we see how these perspectives belong to a group of different women (and one man) who are all connected in some way, shape, or form.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book since it deals with such gut-wrenchingly difficult subjects. I did find it engrossing, one of those books that is really difficult to put down. These women demonstrate such strength and resilience and it was inspiring, but overall this book just left me very sad.

The Spawning Ground

I was pleasantly surprised by my latest Evergreen read, The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It takes place around one of the many B.C. rivers where salmon spawn; one side of the river sits the Robertson family homestead,  on the other is a Shuswap  community. The novel opens with a protest against a development that threatens this integrity of the river.

The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

With that sort of set up I was expecting a very particular sort of story, but that was not at all what I got. I’m having trouble writing about this one because there’s such a major twist and I feel like it would be kind of a spoiler to reveal it, but it happens so early in the plot that it’s hard not to hint at it. Let’s just say I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but not necessarily to anyone and everyone.

Five Roses

My latest Evergreen book is Five Roses by Alice Zorn. It tells the story of three women living in a rundown Montreal neighbourhood whose lives intersect in interesting ways.Five Roses by Alice Zorn

I didn’t love this book. I don’t even think I liked it. There were elements I really enjoyed – one of the main characters is a weaver and the descriptions of her loom and yarn were quite enjoyable, and a secondary character is a chef from Trinidad (where my family is from) and the descriptions of island food are mouthwatering.

But some of the characters find themselves in really awful and unhealthy situations and it just made me so uncomfortable. I could see how the they got there, they truly did not know any better (this is the type of book that really drives home the importance of properly educating your children, even when the topics might be something you’d rather avoid). There was one scene where a character does something absolutely morally reprehensible yet it’s almost glossed over. Also, everything just wrapped up so neatly. Overall, reading this book made me feel a bit dirty – I wouldn’t recommend it.