I enjoyed reading both of these books too much to stop and take detailed notes, so instead of doing full reviews separately I've decided to put them in the same post with just a mini review each about what I thought of them.
This book will take you into its mouth, chew you up and spit you out into a messy glob of very disturbed and squicked-out gunk. It's great. It's very hard to genuinely disturb me in an emotional sense, so the fact that this book does that is a testament to it's prowess. A compelling plot, and a narrator that talks so clinically about her awful experiences makes for a book that you can't put down and leaves your hands shaking. I'd recommend this highly.
Easily my favourite thing about this book (the theme that ties these two mini reviews together) is the friendship between the women and girls. I have no doubt that not one of them would have been able to get through such a horrific ordeal if they didn't have each other to lean on. The dynamics between the group of butterflies was probably the most interesting thing in the book; the unspoken and spoken rules between them, and how they dealt with each other and newcommers to give them the softest landing they could into hell.
I thought how fucking unfar it was that he made us butterflies, of all things.
Real butterflies could fly away, out of reach.
The Gerdener's Butterflies could only ever fall, and that but rarely.
Though the intro to the book is slightly slow, once it picks up its pace it doesn't slow down again. At all. Not a bit. It races through until the very end, which I feel is very appropriate - considering river rafting is fast-paced and batters you around the whole time. This book is definitely a great and rough adventure, that shows just how terrifying nature can be if we don't learn to respect it. Another point of interest is that the book shows characters using sign language to talk to each other, and doesn't write the dialogue in italics. I've seen talk over this being the better way to show sign language in books so I was glad to see it.
Again, the friendships in this book are amazing. The novel centers around four women (all over 30, which is definitely something you don't see enough), and their interactions made for some of the best character building I've seen in a while. I've always felt that there are two situations where you get to know someone at their truest - when they're with their best friends, and when there's a crisis. This book encompasses both of those, and I feel like it was such a great technique to build their personalities and show the readers what these women were truly like.
What did the mountains care about our plan to climb them, rafting the waters that divided them? They had eternity before us, and eternity after us. We were nothing to them.
Have you read either of these books? Do you want to? Let me know!