Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Review of 'What Comes After' by Steve Watkins
How do you do it twice?
After the death of her father, sixteen-year-old Iris Wight is uprooted from her hometown in Maine and sent to live on a farm in Craven County, North Carolina, with her hard-bitten aunt Sue and her hulking, monosyllabic cousin, Book. Almost immediately, Iris, a vegetarian and animal lover, clashes with Aunt Sue, who mistreats her livestock, fritters away Iris's small inheritance, and thinks nothing of striking Iris for the smallest offense.
Grief-stricken and alone, Iris finds solace in her aunt's willful but lovable herd of goats. But when Iris sets two of the young goats free to save them from slaughter, the tensions between her and Aunt Sue come to a frightening and violent head. Can Iris recover from tragedy for a second time and find a way to save not only her beloved goats, but also herself?
Powerful and deeply moving, What Comes After is at its heart an affirmation of the redemptive power of animals and the resilience of the human spirit."
This is one of the most amazing books I've read in a long time! Quite a while ago, I added this to my Shelfari bookshelf and I reserved it without rechecking the description again.
At first when I started to read this book and I read the article on the very first page, I thought, "Oh dear... here we go," as I read that Iris had set a herd of goats free. Once more, I am taught that I must be cautious of anything that is published as factual and I must also ponder the circumstances of the situation. I was under the impression that Iris was an animal rights activist/PeTA member and this was going to be a book chronicling her adventures as an overbearing animal rights activist/member of PeTA. While this may be true in some respects, it's an overall incorrect assessment.
It's a story about love, grief, redemption, abuse... there's quite a laundry list. When everything comes together, everything works, from the characters, to the plotline, to the twists and turns strategically placed throughout the story. This book makes you feel for the characters, even if it's on a very basic level. There's something for just about everyone: vegetarianism, "red neck" ness, animals, romance, family, drama, life, death, friendships broken and amended...
Steve Watkins is an unbelievably talented writer. I don't know if he has any other books published, but if he does, I fully intend to read many, if not all of his titles.
I give 'What Comes After':