Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ruby's young adult historical fiction novel takes readers on a swirling, sweeping flight in and out of various decades, both for the living and the dead. I was a little reluctant to read this because I didn't care for Bone Gap at all with it's heavy-handed magical realism, but this one was more supernatural and bizarre in a way that has some boundaries and eventually an explanation. Frankie, her audacious little sister, Toni, and their big brother Vito have spent much of their childhood living in an orphanage getting Sunday visits from their Father who "temporarily" put them there until he could get back on his feet after riding the wave of the Great Depression. On the eve of WWII, Vito ships off to serve his country along with other boys from the orphanage including Frankie's first love, Sam. As some of the nuns enact brutal punishments on the orphans, Frankie just wants to be free even though she's not sure exactly what that means for her. The entire story is told through the "not-eyes" of ghost, Pearl, who floats aimlessly in and out of people's lives, yearning to find her purpose and what really caused her death in 1918. There are so many sad and eerie secrets revealed in all of the characters' lives that it's clear the author has done a lot of research. The murky line between fact and fiction in this book is blurred in a beautiful, scary, and haunting way. Some of Pearls' chapters in the beginning felt muddled and clunky, but it all came together in the end. This doesn't mean there's necessarily a happy or tidy ending, but there is resolution. I like how one of Ruby's many themes is about women's voracity for creativity, independence, and freedom. No matter what that freedom looks like to each woman, it is her own choice, right, and journey to take.
View all my reviews
Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.