Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Ice Queen

I have read several of Alice Hoffman's books...some I have really liked, others not so much.  But I have enjoyed enough of her novels to give The Ice Queen a chance! I am so glad that I did, because I loved the book, especially Ms. Hoffman's writing!

When the un-named narrator of the book was eight years old, she told her mother in an anger-filled moment that she wished that she would never see her again.  This is how the book begins:

"Be careful what you wish for.  I know that for a fact.  Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things.  They burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back.  They bruise and bake and come back to haunt you.  I've made far too many wishes in my lifetime, the first when I was eight years old."

How great is that writing?

"And here was the odd thing about making that wish, the one that made her disappear: it hurt."

After the death of their mother, the narrator and her brother went to live with their grandparents.  The narrator grew up to work at a reference desk in the local library.  She became an expert on the topic of death.  Upon her grandmother's death, the narrator decided to move to Florida to be closer to her brother and his family.  When her brother came to get her (in New Jersey), they were heading to Florida, driving in a thunderstorm, when the narrator spoke a wish that lightening would strike her.  Guess what happened one evening while settled in her new home in Florida...yep, lightening struck her.

The narrator joined a group at the local university who were being researched...all of the group members had been struck by lightening.  Here she heard of Seth "Lazarus" Jones, another local man who had been struck by lightening and had died for forty minutes, yet survived.  He was not part of the research group.  The narrator of the book decided that she needed to meet him, and tracked him down.  And her obsession with him began.

"Are people drawn to each other because of the stories they carry inside?"

The narrator struggles through-out the story trying to determine what is love and what is obsession and what is the difference between the two.  As she and Lazarus learn each other's stories, they begin to save each other. As the relationship ends, she says:

"This would be the moment I would never let go of, even though it caused me the greatest pain.  When I was old, when I couldn't walk or talk or see, I would still have this."

 The relationship is one of passion, secrets, love and hope.  And in the end, saving grace.

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