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A Perfect Snow by Nora Martin
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Feb 19, 12

Read in February, 2012

This novella is the story of Ben, the older son in a family down on their luck and living in a trailer park on the outskirts of a small town in Montana. Ben, his father's favourite, is feeling the injustice of his dad being out of work and of being looked down upon for being "trailer trash". He is troubled by the behaviour of younger brother, David, but ironically it is Ben who lets himself be manipulated into involvement in a racist hate group. But one night he recognises that he has gone too far. As Ben steps back from the group, forms a relationship with a new girl in town and develops a friendship with a rich kid he wanted to hate, David slips into the space Ben has vacated.

A Perfect Snow describes Ben's developing consciousness and the effect his actions have on others in a poetic manner. There is probably too much happening in too short a time to be totally convinced by Ben's conversion, but the symmetry works somehow. Martin's language is lyrical and she uses metaphor to good effect. The complexities of Ben's family are only touched upon but are there strongly in the background. The book also explores what it means to belong in a number of ways - to family, to a place and to significant others - and also what can become of those who feel they don't belong.

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