Annabel (Review)

Book cover for "Annabel" by Kathleen Winter.Title: Annabel

Author: Kathleen Winter

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 480

Genre: Fiction, Canadiana

Source: Purchased from Chapters

From the cover:

Kathleen Winter’s luminous debut novel is a deeply affecting portrait of life in an enchanting seaside town and the trials of growing up unique in a restrictive environment.

In 1968, into the devastating, spare atmosphere of the remote coastal town of Labrador, Canada, a child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor fully girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret — the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor and midwife, Thomasina. Though Treadway makes the difficult decision to raise the child as a boy named Wayne, the women continue to quietly nurture the boy’s female side. And as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting society of his father, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as “Annabel,” is never entirely extinguished.

I feel like I’m doing a lot of gushing lately, but I really, really loved this book.

Having said that, I didn’t always love the things that happened in Annabel, or the way that characters acted. I think that was a large part of the point, though – to show the realities of how a situation like this might play out in a culture like that in the Maritimes.

There were also parts of the book where I felt almost personally devastated by what was happening to Wayne/Annabel. It was hard to put myself in his specific shoes, but I could feel his isolation and frustration with the ways he was treated (particularly by his father).

At times while reading, I felt like the story was starting to drag. I think that, in part, it was just that the loneliness was really coming through the pages. I’m not sure this was all of it, but it was definitely a part of it. Even when I had to push through “slow” parts, though, I still found myself drawn deeply into Wayne’s world and wanting him to end up happy.

Though Annabel wasn’t perfect, I still felt like I learned an awful lot from the experience of reading it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who asked.

Rating:

14 thoughts on “Annabel (Review)”

    1. Perhaps. Also, it felt like it was a book that it would be hard to say “I loved it” about, but that has a profound impact on the reader. Not always in a good way, but such is life.

  1. I totally get what you mean about liking a book but it being kind of uncomfortable to read. It’s a weird experience, but that is how some of good books are.

  2. I’ve not heard of this book yet but it sounds pretty intriguing and imteresting. Have you read The Wasp Factory by Iain banks. I love that book and Annabel sounds a little similar, but not as graphic as dark. There’s another one that srpings to mind too but can’t think of the author… Middlesex??

  3. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now, and I’m currently waiting for it on a wait list at the library. Been debating buying it, by the sounds of your review, I won’t be disappointed – even in the slower parts.

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