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Andrew Porter masterfully presents each of his characters' experiences with stunning believability: Elton losing his longtime job as a respected architect, Richard developing as a poet but struggling with his relationships with other men, and Chloe discovering the consequences of her radical boyfriend's actions. When Chloe drops out of college and returns home, she sets into motion a chain of events that sparks a reaction from everyone around her. I was struck by the air of secrecy and helplessness that pervades the story, mirroring the hushed secrets and misunderstandings that fuel the plot. And even when I knew how Chloe's story would inevitably end, I had to keep reading just to see how Porter would tie everything together. This is a beautifully written, suspenseful tragedy.
It is hard to believe that this is a first novel—the writing is so deeply rooted with truth and lyrical brilliance. The story is told through the eyes of 14 year-old June and how her understanding of the world shifts with her Uncle’s death from AIDS. It would be a mistake to view this book as only a story of loss and tragedy, as it is instead a story about growing up, and the sharp beauty that comes with the discovery of how to live truly and honestly. I cannot say enough about the stunning reach of this novel—the way that it will move you and the way that it becomes embedded into your own understanding of courage and veracity. This is one of those books that is not written to just be read, but instead it is a novel that is felt. My soul responded—what more is there to say?
What would it be like to give up everything and attempt to live off the land? Chris McCandless attempted this endeavor donating all his money to charity and cutting off communication to the world to make his way into the great white North – Alaska. Krakauer describes his devastating death with the clarity and foresight of a journalist yet with the passion of a fellow nature-lover.