Kelly Ballard's Reviews > The Ice Queen

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
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's review
Feb 22, 2009

liked it

It took me months to open this book and I am glad I finally did. I had picked it up in the Spring to read on vacation, but then I lost interest for awhile. I had been scared off after re-reading the part about her Mother dying young on the back cover teaser…The story seemed more depressing then uplifting.

But somehow it traveled to the beach with me this summer and thank goodness, as The Ice Queen is a perfect beach read; light, thoughtful and surprising. What surprised me about the book were the intriguing characters and plot twists. The characters were complicated; no one is black and white. Each of us has hidden parts that may shock those around us – “If they only knew…” we wonder silently.

I have always been drawn to plots where the world sees one thing and reality is so much stickier. I like it because it reminds me to think in tones of gray. To remember that there is a completely unknown back-story behind each person that motivates their behaviors every day. The message to me is always the same – sometimes it is not about you.

The narrator of the story is often seen jumping to hysterical conclusions as displayed when she spies on her sister-in-law late one night returning library books, or why her lover only wants to make love in the dark, or even the cause of her mother’s death. The narrator’s inability to see beyond her own self-contempt blurs her perception of events – everyone doesn’t like her, she has no friends, she causes death…

Surprisingly she does have friends and those who care for her, but she can not see it because of her own self-loathing. Since she has not learned to take care of herself, she can not take care of her friendships or even a positive relationship with her brother. The narrator transcends her hurts finally by stopping her self-punishment. Unfortunately and of course, tragic events must unfold for the narrator to finally make peace with the past.

However, a satisfying peace is made and lessons can be gleaned by any reader about perception and reality. It is often a bit of both that creates the moments of your life, for better or worse…

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