Its a Monday and the day I move back to school for the Spring Semester so I figured, what would be more appropriate than a book review?
I started As Simple As Snow by Gregory Galloway around 1am on Sunday night… I was up until 6am finishing it, then I sat down to write this. Trust me, when you pick up this novel make sure you have plenty of time because you will not want to put it down, not even after the last page has been read. The novel tells the compelling story of a relationship that develops between the unnamed narrator, who describes himself as ‘plain and pure as a glass to hold water’, and a mysterious ‘goth’ girl, Anna Cayne, who enjoys mysteries, magic, literature, writing obituaries and so much more. The novel draws you in just as Anna draws the narrator in – its charm lies in Anna’s charm and her unpredictable, seemingly-carefree nature; because of this relationship the book manages to easily devastate the reader with the tragedy that occurs about half-way in.
I must warn you, as someone with admitted control issues, this novel drove me MAD at first since the whole thing is a love story; wrapped into a mystery; and just surrounded by implications and double-meanings. I would say I don’t want to ruin the ending but a quick google search reveals to anyone that there is no ending – the ending is simply a new beginning, a secret code, and a web-address that invites you to puzzle things out and figure out what the hell just happened here. It has set many readers into action – they sign up at a website to receive e-mail clues to Anna’s whereabouts (the clues used to be delivered by mail before the book gained too much popularity) and all end up fervently trying to solve Anna’s mystery; although, to my knowledge, no one has accomplished the feat to date.
I have given up on solving it myself. I believe this is what the author ultimately intended, since the mystery itself is so complicated and, in the novel, Anna says:
“It’s almost more fun not knowing… If you knew what it all meant, then it might not be as interesting or compelling. That’s probably half the fun, not knowing. Sometimes there’s more fun in the mystery of things than anything else.”
When I read that quote as I plowed through the novel I practically snorted in disagreement – I am someone who enjoys knowing things. However, my disdain came back to bite me as I got closer and closer to the last page without any tidy conclusion. In the hours since I have completed this book (and resigned myself to the fact that google will not yield the solution) I have come to terms with not knowing; Anna is right, the mystery can be fun. This novel is more than just a good read, its a tool to force the reader to deal with their issues concerning the unknown, to come to terms with the idea that they may never know and simply continue on hoping things turned out for the best. The lessons learned in this novel carry over wonderfully into dealing with the unknown in our non-fiction, everyday lives.
I’ll leave you with a poem I found during my frantic google-searching for the answer. I think Anna (a fictional fan of random internet links, poetry, and aimless wandering) would approve.
AND THE WORLD WAS AS SIMPLE AS SNOW
You are like all
the dark shops of my childhood
where you enter
with the little tinkle of a bell
and the world blossoms
into a myriad of things colourful
in impossible & impeccable
wild & glassy.
And the cash register singing
with the hard earned money
and the little tinkle of a bell
lets you out again
into a world
excited with the falling of snow
& the palpable approach
of a Christmas when Christmas was Christmas
and the world
was as simple as snow.