Publisher and Publication Date: Little A. December 1, 2018.
Genre: Fiction. Coming of age story.
Source: Kindle Unlimited program through Amazon. Free e-book/ Kindle copy.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: Readers of coming of age stories where the narrator/character is a boy to young man.
This ebook is available for free through the Kindle Unlimited program.
Wes Ballot is in his mid-teens when his mother died. His father left soon afterwards. Wes went to live with maternal grandparents who are like strangers to him. Wes is an only child. His mother was an only child. He has lived a chaotic and poverty stricken childhood. His parents fought. His grandparents fight. And, he is a young man who has been deeply affected by the heavy weight of anger, unforgiveness, abuse, addictions, and unspoken words in the family.
The time period is the late 1970s. The place is rural Minnesota.
If the above summary depresses you the book certainly will. Of course, I feel the book is well-written; and the book shows a hard side of life that many readers can relate to.
Several reasons why I loved this book:
•Susan Bernhard writes a perfect voice and persona of a young man. I feel that writing a story about a young man is difficult from the perspective of a female writer. But, Bernhard hits it great with Wes in Winter Loon.
•Bernhard is a wonderful storyteller. The mood and setting of winter, a winter lake, and the northern state of Minnesota. The icy cold of the environment casts a perfect stage for the icy cold of the family.
•Wes is an only child. He is alone in his thoughts. He is alone in his fears. He is alone in his home. Even though he had a mother and father, they are distracted and lost in a dysfunctional world of alcohol.
•I’ve read that in living through the hard times in life we either become bitter or better. Wes’s parents and grandparents became bitter. The story will reveal what Wes becomes.
•From the first page, I became attached to Wes. I wanted to bring him home and feed the young man. I wanted to make sure he had a safe place to grow-up.
•I’m happy to state several of the characters who are (solid and dependable) friends of Wes are Native Americans. Through their stories, I understand the plight and life of Native Americans.
•A few of the quotes stayed with me long after the book was read.
“So much went unsaid between them, like words didn’t matter when their contempt for each other was clear.”
“I would come to know the cold of my grandparents house and felt it that first day.”