March is here, the temperature is in the 50’s and instead of snow in the forecast it’s rain. If you’re not like me and aching for the snow to stick around a little bit longer then might I suggest to you David Guterson’s first novel, “Snow Falling on Cedars.” I am not a fan of most contemporary authors, so the fact that I enjoy all of Guterson’s writings is saying a lot.
Before writing this review I decided to run a wikipedia search on the book and it turns out that Guterson was a teacher and from the 1960’s-1980’s and he would write the book little by little in the morning. Once the book was published and became a huge success he quit his teaching gig and started writing full time. Since he began writing fulltime in 1995 he has published three other novels. His latest two novels, “East of the Mountains” (highly recommended) and “Our Lady of The Forest” (good, but his weakest work in my opinon), I’ve read and will review in the future.
“Snow Falling on Cedars,” takes place in the pacific northwest and set in a post world war II time period. I read this book as a high school assignment and part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much is because it is told from the point of view of the town’s newspaper editor, which at the time is what I aspired to be when I grew up. The plot revolves around racism between the white-Americans that live in the community and the Japanese-American fishermen with the backdrop of a murder trial that is very Lee Harper-esque. As the narrator tells the story, you also get personal flashbacks to his youth and a forbidden romance. This is without a doubt a story that has it all, courtroom drama, love triangle, a morality tale, a historical novel and a story about racism told from the perspective of an excellent author.
Grade: A- 91% (missed the A ranking because it isn't exactly family friendly. There is some violence and other content that actually has this book placed on the banned book list).