PositiveThe Cleveland Plain DealerLepucki begins her story a couple of years into what Frida calls their ‘afterlife’ in the forest, on the day she tells Cal she is pregnant. This is not entirely happy news: Frida and Cal live a survivalist life, filled with fear and entirely isolated … It is not coincidental that these two recall children in a fairy tale, innocents moving ever closer to danger. But while Lepucki does lead them into her version of the witch's cottage, the true dangers they face come from within. Even before they set off, from Page 1, they're keeping secrets from each other, and their journey will multiply the secrets, making them question everything … Lepucki spins the many secrets adroitly, urging readers on with the mysteries and promise of answers.
Karen Joy Fowler
PositiveThe Cleveland Plain Dealer[Fowler] goes darker and deeper with this novel, which grapples with the capricious nature of memory, the lies family members tell themselves and each other, and, most of all, the question at the heart of all great art: What does it mean to be human? … Fowler manages to touch on so much while telling her story – the birth of the animal-rights movement, a quick primer on the real chimp-human experiments, a dip into the way psychologists view the world (Fowler's father was one, at Indiana University) – but it never feels like homework.
RaveThe Cleveland Plain DealerIt is indeed explicit, but it is a work of serious ambition, both literary and moral. It's also laced with dark, sometimes savage humor and juicy riffs on consumer culture and its twin obsessions, youth and beauty … Celeste, a cold, calculating beauty, has organized her life for one purpose, and one only: the seduction of adolescent boys. She loathes everyone else, particularly her husband, whom she married for cover and for the luxury afforded by his family wealth.