The Turtle Warrior

If breaking my leg last May accomplished nothing else, it has left me with a summer's worth of reading to report on in the Bookhouse. One of these is The Turtle Warrior, by Mary Relindes Ellis, sent to me by my friend Bonnie.

It's set in northern Wisconsin, familiar territory for me. I know those poor farms, that stony land, old barns with outdated, broken down machinery. I know the lure of the woods, the quiet depth of snow. Settling into The Turtle Warrior was, in some ways, like going home.

I'm lucky. I don't know first hand the pain of abusive marriage or gross parental cruelty. But I have known a few victims. One of the characters in my first novel, The Year of the Crow, was such a one.

The Turtle Warrior was a slow read for me. I read a chapter a night, taking only as much beauty and pain as I could swallow at one sitting. But isn't that one of the reasons we read? To remember beauty or discover beauty we never knew? To live for a moment in pain we can't otherwise know? Or to revisit the pain we do know, searching for footprints in the snow that lead to redemption?