Review: “Breaking Wild,” Diane Les Becquets

Pros: Completely sucked me in
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

Diane Les Becquets’s Breaking Wild is about two very different women, Amy Raye and Pru, on opposite sides of a search and rescue operation. Amy goes out elk hunting alone and vanishes. Pru is the park ranger who, with her trained search-and-rescue dog Kona, does absolutely everything she can and then some to find Amy and find out what happened to her. As pieces of Amy’s past come to light, there’s speculation of suicide or homicide–but not enough proof to be sure.

 

There are two entwined narratives going on here. Pru (who tells us her story in the first person) is part of the ongoing search for first Amy Raye, then her (presumed) body. Or what’s likely to be left of it considering the mountain lions in the area. Amy Raye’s story (told in the third person) lags a bit behind, so we get the searchers’ ideas, assumptions, and conclusions before we find out what’s actually been happening. I liked the switch from third to first and back, because it made it incredibly easy to know exactly who the narration followed at any given time. The lag was just enough to spool out uncertainty and suspense and then deliver on that suspense.

This is a slower, more thoughtful story than my usual preferences. Pru and Amy Raye have both led lives with complications, and we learn so much about the two of them as they go. Amy Raye fairly quickly shows that she’s such a narcissist that she can’t even understand most people’s emotions. Being lost in the wilderness quickly strips all of that away. Amy Raye has no choice but to live in her own head and examine her own life and actions. But ultimately, will it have any real effect on her gaping flaws? And will she die before we even get a chance to find out?

When I think back to the story I remember it as being slow and introspective. Though where that would normally not thrill me, I loved it in this tale. The two women’s stories kept me enthralled. The ending made me tear up. I often say that if a book doesn’t make me so excited that I babble about it to my husband then it isn’t worth a score of 5 out of 5. This volume achieved that early on, and earned that 5 out of 5.

 

NOTE: Book provided for review by publisher
Expected publication date: February 9, 2016

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