Idaho is a book I was on the waitlist for at the library for more than 3 months…what can I say, I’m stubborn and wanted to stick to my resolution! When it finally became available this month, despite all the busy-ness of life, I couldn’t wait to start reading it to see if the hype (and wait) were worth it. Now that I’ve finished it, I absolutely agree that it’s a captivating read. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I couldn’t put the book down and kept wondering the whole time how it would end.
Idaho flashes between characters and time periods throughout the novel, which gives readers a cool perspective on how events unfold, how the different characters experience them, and how they are all connected. The main character (in my opinion) is Ann, Wade’s second wife. As his memory fades, she wants desperately to piece together the story of his life before she knew him – the story of his first family, including his first wife, Jenny, who is now in prison.
The crux of the novel is one day when Jenny and Wade and their two daughters are out on the mountainside they call home. The rest of the novel unfolds from something that happens in the blink of an eye. Without giving too much away, it is this singular moment that leaves readers asking questions like: What are we capable of? Does a singular moment define us for life? Are we all just a slip away from a prison sentence? As Ann works through these questions herself, she also has to take care of Wade, who is forgetting more and more – which is, ultimately, probably for the best.
This book was a great peek inside mountain life and family histories. The author, Emily Ruskovich, grew up in Idaho, so she knows what she’s talking about. She is also an Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad and O. Henry Prize winner. Needless to say, her craftsmanship is on another level and that’s definitely evident throughout this book. I recommend reading it and am glad I finally got my hands on it and could make time for it this month!
Stats: 320 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys in family dramas or farming/mountain lifestyles in Idaho.
Up next: This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel