‘October Snow’ is a book about an important (pressing) issue, domestic violence. Not enough has been written about it, and that alone would make this novel a worthy read. Raising consciousness and informing people about all aspects of domestic violence (legal, emotional, personal, psychological) is required, and by putting the readers right in the middle of a charged situation, and making us identify ourselves with protagonists who experience the problem at different levels (Jo who survived years of abuse and became and advocate, Maxine who comes to realise she was the child of an abusive marriage, Sam, a victim who with the help of her friends gains the strength to move out and restart her life) Ms. Brooks helps us achieve a better understanding than that possible from reading the news or even academic books or essays on the matter. We are there.
If that did not suffice, ‘October Snow’ is a novel about a group of women, who become stronger together, and whose friendship gives meaning to their lives, enriching them and helping them achieve things they would not have on their own. I love the characters and cried at the end. They are all heroes in their own right. Although I had suspected where things were going for quite a while, that did nothing to reduce the emotional impact of it. I agree with many of the reviewers and I’m sure that ‘October Snow’ will live with me for a very long time.
Although some of the legal issues might be very specific to the US (and even to some States), the psychological and emotional depth of the characters and the effect the abuse has on them is, unfortunately universal.
I will follow Mrs. Brook’s literary career with interest and I hope her novel gets the attention it deserves. The world would be a better place if we did not allow such problems to remain hidden in plain sight.