A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: When the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.
When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn't have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen's confessional: As a well-behaved and overachieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident "breaches" during the full moon. On these nights adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their paths.
Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community's traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town's past, the more we realize that Lumen's memories are harboring secrets of their own.
A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.
©2015 Joshua Gaylord (P)2015 Hachette Audio
I was on the fence about this one till I read the author had written The Reapers Are the Angels under a different name, which was a book I loved.
Sometimes the story carries the novel, sometimes the language carries the novel--and the audio narrator can contribute or detract from the prose. In this case, the first two combined with an excellent audio narrator made this book shine. (Sorry, not an intentional pun on the main character's name, which is Lumen.) I don't know that I would have enjoyed it as much had I read rather than listened to it.
This book will not be for those who want life to sunshine and roses, who deny the violence and ugliness in themselves, who don't want to question or look to deeply inside themselves, or the Pollyannas of the world who can't stand swear words, sex, etc. I generally have a very low level of tolerance for descriptions of violence/violent acts, but in this case, it was so integral to the larger theme (and written about in such an interesting way), that I didn't have any issues with it at all.
I think it was the exploration of all of the above, written in such poetic prose--and in a rather original way that appealed to me.
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