The Beginners: A Novel, by Rebecca Wolff – Book Review

In Rebecca Wolff’s stunning new coming of age novel, The Beginners, fifteen-year-old Ginger Pritt is in a precarious place the summer before her senior year. Boys and the languid exploration of her burgeoning sexuality have set her adrift in her friendship with best friend Cherry, and a pervasive and heavy grief blankets and isolates her from her family. When Raquel and Theo Motherwell show up in Ginger’s beautiful, but dying, Massachusetts town, she is dazzled by the opportunity to befriend the enigmatic couple. Spending more and more time with the Motherwells, Ginger imaginatively explores the dark history of the town (which had succumbed to the hysterics of the Salem Witch Trials) the surrounding towns which were purposely submerged in the local river, and the questionable intentions of the hypnotic couple holding her deeply in thrall.

Mesmerizing from the beginning, this strange little book is full of quiet and creepy atmosphere as it builds in intensity toward its mysterious and ambiguous climax. Steeped in language and imagery both lush and provocative, and always rich and beautiful, The Beginners provides full immersion into Ginger’s often unreliable perspective as she retrospectively examines her transition into the complexities of adulthood from the footing of a naïve and often overlooked child. Since it’s easy to see the initial appeal and seeming sophistication of the erudite and relentlessly thoughtful Motherwells, readers have to decide the culpability Ginger plays in the ensuing events. A slow burn, this is a satisfying read even if full comprehension fails to coincide with the novel’s end. Highly recommended.

After reading the book, I watched the trailer which gives a nice glimpse into the sleepy town without spoiling the story.

The Beginners is available in hardcover at: Powells & Amazon.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 The Violets of March, by Sarah Jio   Book Review

Review Copy.

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  1. It is obvious to me from that beautiful trailer and your stunning review (really well written) that this book is special.

  2. That book cover looks weird but eye-catching 🙂

    Lovely review, I am sure I am going to want to read this 🙂

  3. I don’t recall ever hearing about this book before today, but your review has totally hooked me!

  4. There is something about the way you describe this book that really compels me to find out more about it. I like the fact that you call it a “slow burn” and even if the end does sound like it was a little incongruous, the rest of the book sounds like it makes up for that. Fantastic review on this one. I am adding this book to the very top of my wish list.

  5. I loved the idea of this book…you review is lovely…books like this appeal to me in a big way…
    Have you seen the number of reviews by readers who absolutely hated this book?
    I am so curious about all of these strong feelings.