The Snowman's Children
The Snowman's Children is a poignant, psychologically intense first novel that tells the story of an incident from one man's childhood in the 1970s, when a serial killer called The Snowman stalked the streets of suburban Detroit. The incident, a result of good but woefully misguided juvenile intentions, forced his family to leave their home, and eventually forced him, at a...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 10th 2002 by Carroll & Graf
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I thought that this book was a murder mystery. It really is not. What this book is about is the stress of families living under the shadow of a serial killer, and the ripples that stress has into the future. It is also about the intensity of childhood friendship, love, illness, betrayal and loss.
I love discovering authors who have the potential for becoming new favorites and whose progress I can enjoy following book by book. Occasionally, as with Jonathan Lethem, I get to be there when they go from obscure (Gun, With Occasional Music) to best selling and award winning (The Fortress of Solitude). Or to be there when a little known novel like Shoeless Joe becomes a blockbuster movie (Field of Dreams) and suuddenly everyone is talking about an author you've been faithfully following and qu...more
"Snowman's Children" immediately became one of my favorite novels as soon as I finished reading it. It's like a memoir of childhood, with some horrific overtones, genuinely creepy scenes, and shitloads of great dialogue. The story jumps back and forth between the late seventies and mid-nineties, as the narrator heads back to his hometown outside of Detroit, where his neighborhood was stalked by a child killer when he was eleven.
The author's descriptions are phenomenal! Hirshberg's writing is so lyrical and gorgeous. The plot was slow moving at times, but not as grim and violent as I was expecting, given the subject matter. I definitely enjoyed it, although I'd love to see the author apply his amazing writing skills to a story that was a bit less grim. "Dysfunctional man returning to hometown to follow up on childhood errors" was a engaging, but given his amazing writing, the plot felt a bit pedestrian.
A very intriguing book, though ultimately unsatisfying in certain ways. The protagonist, Mattie Rhodes, returns to Detroit to see if he can find a friend from his youth. The book intertwines the story of his search with the story of his youth, where a serial killer is on the loose killing children. Some of the events are just too contrived and unbelievable, but the desire to discover what really happened and what will happen keeps it interesting enough.
If you can't deal with Childhood trauma, this is not the book for you, but if you can...you must read this book. You will be sucked right into 1970s Detroit, in the mind of a child. If I say this book is "haunting", I don't mean in a mysterious, or supernatural sort of way. Its a psychological haunting that will lead you to believe you know these characters. They have become my friends, in every sad way.
This one was a bit creepy but it was well written. People from the Detroit area would recognize all the locations/landmarks. The back story is about a serial killer of children which I think was based on a 'true' situation. The story itself is about children who aren't physically/directly affected by the back story but who are psychologically affected and make some unbelievable choices.
I am still giving this one star because it is written very well, but can't give more stars to something I stopped reading. I wanted to keep reading it, because the writing was quite good, but I gave up because I was one third of the way through and the writer brought up "The Snowman' every once in a while, in a teasing kind of why, but that far into the book, even though we were told how horrible this (serial killer? child molester? kidnapper?) was, we still don't know exactly what crimes he com...more
An uneven first book that attempts to explore the lives of three kids living in the shadow of a serial killer. Set in 1970s Detroit and the protagonists’ adulthood, shifting between the two. His prose runs purple; the narrator is often astonished and his mouth often gapes. In one scene, the words spurted from his mouth like blood from a severed jugular. Additionally, he continuously commits the First Sin of Dialog Attribution: “Get out!” she barked, “I’m tired,” he whined. He doesn't seem to hav...more
I can see why people like this book, but I have to agree with a review that said that the pace was too slow. There are moments where I felt engaged and a little horrified, but I felt like the meat of the story was too far at the end. Some could say that the meat of the story was the psychological turmoil of the narrator, and the way the story was being recalled. I guess I just really wasn't interested in getting so deep into the mind of the protagonist.