[I received a copy of this book from its Canadian publisher House of Anansi. This does not affect my opinion of the novel.]
When Cindy from House of Anansi (hi!) emailed me about this book, I was extremely excited. The premise of the books is so fascinating and one that I haven’t heard of before: Peggy, whose survivalist father takes her into the woods and tells her that the world has disappeared, has returned home 9 years later. What happened to her and her father in the woods? Why has she suddenly come back?
The book came with a survival pack with maps and lists poking out – so cool!
I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed with the book. In fact, it exceeded all of my expectations and threw me into an adventure that I wasn’t sure I was ready for (which is the best type of adventure, isn’t it?). I was initially worried that reading about Peggy (or Punzel, as her father calls her) and her father’s 9-year experience in the woods would become monotonous and boring, but Fuller manages to add extremely compelling scenes – such as the piano with no sound – into the mix. I loved reading the inventive ways Peggy and her father came up with to pass the time while they were living in the cabin all by themselves, and subsequently panicked with them as they realized they were under-prepared for the coming winter. I was really impressed with the pacing of the book, and how Fuller expertly follows quiet scenes with action-packed ones. Our Endless Numbered Days is smartly structured too, starting with Peggy’s readjustment to “real life” and slowly revealing to readers what happened to her and her father in the past nine years.
When reading the book, I often wondered what was happening to the secondary characters. The novel is told from Peggy’s point of view, but I couldn’t help imagining what her father was thinking the whole time. Why did they go on this “holiday”? What was his true motivation behind it? Did he really buy his story about the world disappearing? As the book went on, I had less and less sympathy for him as he struggled with Peggy, but I felt terrible for Ute, Peggy’s mother. Can you imagine how traumatic that would be for her? Luckily, Fuller does fill us in eventually on what happens to the rest of the family, so I was completely satisfied. The only issue I had – and this might just be my own problem – was that I felt like the word “whilst” was used just often enough to be a little distracting. It’s such a unique word that I kept noticing it and felt that it slightly disrupted the flow, but honestly, that’s a small nitpicky thing in a wonderful reading experience about love, family, and most of all, survival.
Verdict: I couldn’t put this book down. It’s so good. I was completely invested in the plot, and needed to know why and how Peggy came back from the woods after all those years. I wasn’t expecting to love so many parts of the book – or be so stunned in others – but I guess little surprises like these are what makes great literature great.
Read if: The concept of a mysterious disappearance and reappearance intrigues you, you’d like to read a fascinating piece of literature, and/or you’d like to go on a wild adventure that will sweep you off your feet.