Book Review

Words 796

Unseen companion is a book with a difference. That is because it is all about the ordinary lives of teenagers living in a small town Alaska in 1969. It is about feelings and associations between the young adolescents, whom generally people think to be incapable of having any emotions other than the superficial ones. The story is woven by the individual accounts of the four protagonists, who are not the typical teenagers. Moreover, the setting of the whole novel in a small town vulnerable to the harsh climate of the Alaskan landscape.

The four young people are Lorraine Hobbs, a talented outsider who delivers food to the prisoners; Annette Weinland, the minister’s daughter, who helps out at the prison; Thelma Cooke and Edgar Kwagley, two Yup’ik adolescents orphaned and dislocated from their indigenous area. They are associated with one common thread, they all cross paths with a boy named Dove Alexie. Lorraine Hobbs gets a glance of the battered and beaten Dove when she delivers home-cooked meals to an inmate at the local Bethel jail. Part-time jailhouse bookkeeper Annette also sees the battered teen but officials deny he was ever there. As the daughter of a tyrannically strict minister, she longs for freedom and ultimately finds autonomy helping Lorraine expose the jailhouse corruption. Edgar, a Yup’ik teen, encounters Dove in his boarding school but dismiss him as a “mixed-blood” loser, and classmate Thelma eyes him as a handsome, brooding stranger. All four are misfits and loners coming from very different backgrounds with compelling tales of their own.

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