Tuesday, May 31

Book Review: Annabel

Title: Annabel

Author: Kathleen Winter

Pages: 461

Summary: In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret - the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision : to raise te child as about named Wayne. But as Wayne grows to adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self - a girl he thinks of "Annabel" - is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was very well written, the author's writing style is almost lyrical, and flows very well. And the story itself, was well told, but it wasn't what I was expecting from this type of story.

The story itself, was good - I enjoyed the slow pace of it, I think it's important to the book in this case to slowly develop the story, and Wayne/Annabel coming to terms with him/herself, and finding who he/she really is. But, I wish the book focused more on the emotional turmoil of Wayne/Annabel and his/her family, it was shown, but not on the level I would have liked. In this case I would have loved to se multiple narratives, from each character, so I could really get into their heads, as they come to terms with Wayne/Annabel - especially for Wayne/Annabel. I also felt it focused more on the physical side of hermaphaditeism - some details about the surgeries etc. I could have done without. But, overall, the story was well done.

I also felt the characters could have been more, formed. There development, was slow, and progressed throughout the book, but by the end, I didn't feel like I really knew who they really were. Some also felt a little stereotypical - but with that being said, these stereotypes might be a glimpse of the life in the small community in Labrador. Which, I did enjoy reading about, however small it was, the author did enable the reader to glimpse at life in small town in Labrador.

The author's writing is what made the book for me - she is a beautiful storyteller and writing, it was very easy to be pulled into the page and just read the book. Lovely writing, I will definitely read more by this author.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the writing style and is beautiful and the story is fairly good. This book is especially good for anyone who enjoys self-exploration novels.

What to read next: Middlesex

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Chunckster Challenge, Spring Reading Thing


  1. I had been excited about this book, but after reading your review, I think I might have some reservations. I, too, expected it to deal more with the emotions of Annabel/Wayne, and not the physical side of things. I still might read this one, but the urgency is not as high anymore. Thanks for the penetrating and thoughtful review, Jules!

  2. It still sounds like an interesting read and one I would enjoy despite the lack of emotional connect from Annabel/Wayne. The setting and described writing style have me wanting to seek this one out.

  3. Zibilee - It still may be worth a try, the writing style really made the book for me. But it may be a book that isn't pushed to the top of the TBR list.

    Wanda - The setting aspect was lovely, the author did a good job on that. I hope you get a chance to read the book soon, and enjoy the lovely east coast.