Book Review #6: “The Snow Child”

The girls of No Boys Allowed Reviews might just be insane.

Instead of choosing a nice, balmy, tropical read for the freezing cold month of December, we chose to read Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child.


Title: The Snow Child
Author: Eowyn Ivey
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Pub Date: Feb 01, 2012
Hardcover: 400 pages.

It’s set in Alaska, on a barren homestead in the 1920s, where the only warmth to be found comes from tiny wood stoves and blankets made of animal pelts. Cold seeps in through the cracks: the fear of frostbite is real, brutal, and constant. To make things worse, the relationship between the two main characters offers no heat: after the death of their stillborn child twenty years ago, Jack & Mabel have grown increasingly far apart. The move to Alaska from rural Pennsylvania was an effort to leave the pain of their shared past behind them and start anew, just the two of them, coaxing life from the land rather than from Mabel’s womb. But that venture seems like it’s failing, too. Jack insists upon Mabel maintaining her domesticity and femininity, even if it means performing the backbreaking farm work himself, slowly and alone. It’s not an adventure: it’s one more exercise in futility and defeat. The first chapter opens as Mabel contemplates, and attempts to commit, suicide.

What were we thinking?!
We were thinking that it’d be a magical holiday read, based heavily on a Russian fairy tale of the same name, wherein an old, childless couple makes a little girl out of snow, and she comes to life like Frosty!
We weren’t entirely wrong… but we somehow managed to forget about the overwhelming darkness of fairy tales – and of winter.

When it came time to discuss the book, we were all about rectifying our mistakes. “Brrr! We need something to warm our bones!,” said we. And the answer was: booze. Lots and lots of booze.

Meg flew to the rescue with recipes from her new book (a Christmas present) called Tequila Mockingbird. She asked us each in turn which liquors we had present in our homes and then provided everyone with a matching drink. As her cabinets were stocked with gin, Meg made herself a cocktail called “Lime of the Ancient Mariner.” The only spirit in Alyisha’s apartment was a big ol’ bottle of Johnnie Walker’s Double Black Scotch. So she poured it straight, over the rocks, and called it a “Double Black Beauty.” Kristin wasn’t feeling well, so she had some hot tea (6 cups over the course of the day! Which should be no surprise. That darned Anglophile)! Victoria drank up a hearty dose of a self-styled concoction, involving maple bourbon in her Shakespeare insult mug. She called it: the Bourbon of Avon. And for Arianne? A very classy “One Flew Over the Cosmo’s Nest.”


Bellies and throats on fire, we met via video chat for shared nightcaps and a hearty discussion.
Was the book worth the chill?
Click ahead to page 2 to find out what Alyisha thought! (Don’t worry. She wrote her book review sober. Mostly).

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