Review GPA

Review GPA: THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey

In Review GPA, we translate reviews of notable new books into letter grades and determine a grade point average.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Publication Date: February 1, 2012

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

____________________________

From The Washington Post review by Ron Charles:

Gold Star:

“Sad as the story often is, with its haunting fairy-tale ending, what I remember best are the scenes of unabashed joy. That isn’t a feeling literary fiction seems to have much use for, but Ivey conveys surprising moments of happiness with such heartfelt conviction.”

Demerit:

“As much as I loved falling under the spell of “The Snow Child,” in colder moments I became aware that it’s too long. The plot isn’t really complex enough and Ivey’s style isn’t rich enough to support 400 pages.”

Grade: A-

__________________________

From the Kirkus review:

Gold Star:

The book’s tone throughout has a lovely push and pull—Alaska’s punishing landscape and rough-hewn residents pitted against Faina’s charmed appearances—and the ending is both surprising and earned.

Demerit:

None.

Grade: A-

__________________________

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer review by Sarah Willis:

Gold Star:

In “The Snow Child,” first-time novelist Eowyn Ivey plays with theRussian tale “The Snow Maiden,” turning it into a stunning and startling adult novel, full of wonder, longing, hope, pain and beauty.

Demerit:

None.

Grade: A

__________________________

From The Star-Ledger review by Sheila Anne Freeney:

Gold Star:

“Ivey’s writing sparkles, and her plot and subplots ensorcell. Her prose is reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald: seductive in its swift, punchy passages of dialogue and its depiction of the ferocious, shimmering wilderness as a vivid character in its own right.

Demerit:

None

Grade: A

__________________________

From the Slate review by Lydia Kiesling:

Gold Star:

“Ivey writes the landscape well, and there’s lots of wilderness and log-cabin stuff here for people who like to fantasize about trapping critters from the comfort of their homes.”

Demerit:

The Snow Child is a totally unobjectionable novel with good pacing and a pretty set, but it is not a revelation of content or style or form.

Grade: B

__________________________

Review GPA: 3.68 (A-)