Idaho

Author: Emily Ruskovich
Publisher: Random House 


Summary: Ann marries Wade Mitchell, a husband and father whose family had been ripped apart in a tragedy on a mountain in Idaho. His wife is in jail, one daughter is dead and another has been missing for years. While Ann tries to piece together what happened to her husband's family she also has to deal with his quick decline into dementia. Alternating between perspectives, Idaho examines the effects this tragedy has had on those linked to the Mitchells.



Review:
This debut novel is beautifully written but incredibly depressing and without many answers. It is not a mystery: the murder is a small plot point to examine the emotional aftermath for these characters. It makes for a very intricate look at how people move on with their lives but also a slow moving character study with a frustrating back story.



Part of my issue with the book is that there is no focus. The reader is introduced to characters who are not very compelling and seem to have no relevance to the rest of the story while the more intriguing parts are ignored. For example, towards the end of the book we are reintroduced to one of Ann's former students. He is mentioned briefly in the beginning of her story and then not again until his point-of-view chapter. This chapter adds absolutely nothing to the book and gives zero insight to any other part of the story.

The other issue is the murder itself. What leads a seemingly loving mother to murder her daughter? Beats me. Because while many chapters are told from Jenny's (the mother) point-of-view there is no indication of what led her to commit and then confess such a horrible crime. The explanation is generally it came out of nowhere and it just happened. I felt it was very clear there was more to that story but it's never told or even hinted at.

Beyond my frustrations, though, the writing was gorgeous in many parts. This kept me reading to the end and I would willingly read another book by the author, but I can't say I would recommend reading Idaho.

Rating: 



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