My Book Review: Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard

Winter Loon

Author: Susan Bernhard

Book Description: Abandoned by his father after his mother drowns in a frozen Minnesota lake, fifteen-year-old Wes Ballot is stranded with coldhearted grandparents and holed up in his mother’s old bedroom, surrounded by her remnants and memories. As the wait for his father stretches unforgivably into months, a local girl, whose own mother died a brutal death, captures his heart and imagination, giving Wes fresh air to breathe in the suffocating small town. When buried truths come to light in the spring thaw, wounds are exposed and violence erupts.

My Review and Thoughts:

This is a hard, bleak, depressing and awe-inspiring story of a young man coming of age surrounded by pain, suffering, secrets and lies and one obstacle after another.

Your main character Wes Ballot is a young man who must grow up quickly as his life spirals out of control one winter night. But in all reality this young man has been struggling his whole life with abuse in one form or another. He never gets the childhood antics that kids should have. He is stuck between two bitter parents, and a future of loneliness. The abuse. 
His mental abuse is something that truly can get under your skin.

As he grows he uncovers a past that haunts his very nature. Everything he knows, thinks he knows becomes a spiraling landscape of nightmares of the soul. His present nature is nothing better. His past and his present are haunting in nature. You as the reader are allowed into this young man’s life as he grows from one obstacle after another.

Most of the adults in this young man’s life are truly nightmarish in so many ways. This is a human drama that lingers in a personal realty of horror.

Susan Bernhard wrote a very touching and heart-wrenching book. A book that will remain with you. This is her first book and this being her first book I am very shocked and amazed at how gifted and eye-opening the storytelling is. It’s as if Bernhard has been writing books her whole life. This book reads like a pro, at least the story does. The story is an amazing mix of emotions. Her characters are flawlessly written and developed. I for one felt Wes Ballot’s character, I could place myself in his shoes, experience his drama. She made you understand Wes Ballot’s whole being. She made you grasp and take a hold of how deep, dark, dramatic that Ballot’s life is. You get to experience Ballot’s past, present and future. 

The story is a complete reality that plays with the emotional heartstrings of the reader.

The book is very intelligent. It’s a straight forward approach at coming of age with so many 
twist and turns. Some of those twist and turns you never see coming.

This is a book that I feel should be read and experienced in all its vivid detail.

Even-though the story is so bleak and depressing there are moments of laughter and teenage wonderment that plays out in wonderful details of adolescents.

The story is dark. Bleak, and emotional. It’s a book that lingers on your mind and your inner soul. A must read, must experience to fully grasp its ultimate storytelling wonder.

Winter Loon is a thought provoking exploration into the life of growing up in a world of secrets and lies. A world of pain. A world of becoming a man when the world around you decides to show its dark side. Follow along with Wes Ballot as he comes of age in all his horrors and pain.       

Would I Return to it Again: Once was enough, although I cannot wait to see what Susan Bernhard writes next. Her first novel Winter Loon grabbed me and made me an instant fan.

Would I Recommend: Absolutely. Anyone that loves a good coming of age style story will like this one. It is depressing and bleak but overall, it’s a story that lingers with you and truly takes a hold of your mind and never let’s go, at least that is what it did for me.

Four Final Words: Dramatic, Eye-opening storytelling.

My Rating: 4 out of 5