I brought this book with me on a holiday and stayed up ’til 2 A.M. and woke up at 6:30 A.M. just to get back to the story. I finished the book in less than a day, a feat when you’re on a vacation. It was a compelling read and I enjoyed it a lot. The setting was vivid and the era so well-rendered and well-researched too that it felt like I was reading a real memoir from a real person living in the 1900’s. I felt like I was there, and in many ways, I was. Mattie lost her mother to the same disease I lost mine to (the emperor of maladies), I read a lot/too much when I was younger and was consistently harassed for it (my fault though, I read before doing chores), and I too, was and am, caught between familial responsibilities, societal pressures and wanting to be yourself and do the things you want to do, which is all too familiar for bull-headed females who take the road not taken.
It was an interesting book to escape a hard reality from because “they” too lived a hard life. It isn’t all roses and perfume and grand and beautiful things, but the book felt real. I liked it a lot.
Sadly though, I don’t love it as much as Darden and all the other kids at Goodreads did. I’m not really sure why, but I have an inkling that it’s because I am too old for it, or I’ve read The Book Thief first, or that the word games are all too familiar to me so it didn’t really bring something new to the table. The word play and the word games felt somewhat juvenile, and a bit gimmicky. 😦
I also couldn’t help but compare it to The Book Thief, which is a sad exercise to do when you’re reading a book (compare it with something else, I mean). But I couldn’t help it. I was set up for it and it ultimately led to disappointment because the prose for A Northern Light just didn’t… sing. It’s good writing but it’s not seamless, nor was it staggeringly beautiful – very much unlike Markus Zusak’s prose, which literally gave me goosebumps and made me want to cry just for being so elegant and sublime.
I also didn’t like how it turned out in the end – Mattie’s choices did not parallel what would’ve been mine, though I really don’t want to judge the book, a work of fiction, by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of my life, so that’s another matter.
I’m not saying that A Northern Light isn’t a good book. It is. I’m pretty sure I would love this so much more if I had read it years ago. I may not be gaga over it, I’m still very much glad I read it. Thank you.
Aren’t the photos beautiful? I hope you like it as much as I do. We took them at the majestic Lake Danao in Camotes Island, which is probably the most apt setting we could think of for a shoot of this book *wink wink nudge nudge*. The place is amazingly peaceful and beautiful. I have not seen anything quite like it.