Sealskin by Su Bristow Review

The book that…used a frustrating plot device.

Synopsis:
Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous, and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives—not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies—seals who can transform into people—evokes the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set.

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

This book reads very quickly and I found myself flying through it to see what was going to happen next. Su’s writing did nothing to slow down the story but neither was it the greatest writing. I think it did the job of telling the story well and keeping me moving through the story.

As far as the characters go. I wish that we could have heard from Mhairi in the story. I think the story felt a bit lacking at times with her being such an important character but us not being able to hear from her ever. Donald, our main character, was a okay main character but a tad boring. He could have been fleshed out more in my opinion since the story focused so much on him and not on other more interesting characters. His character development was fairly jumpy with him making too much change all at once instead of letting us see him change gradually.

I thought that the rape scene at the beginning would have been an okay beginning to the story if it had been addressed more. As it is in the book right now, it felt like it could have been completely cut out. I have a big problem when authors use rape as a plot device and never address the issues of rape culture and the actual consequences of rape. It seems as if Donald’s actions at the beginning are thought of as okay because she is a mythical creature and not fully human. And even later in the book it hints that because Donald was nice to Mairhi later on, that makes up for raping her which is simply not true and a dangerous sentiment to say. This only perpetuates the idea and mindset that men can take what they want, when they want from women and everything will turn out fine anyway. As a woman, this made the entire book frustrating and concerning to read. I may have been able to give in a higher rating if that had not been in the book.

As long as Su stays away from this in her next novel, I am excited to see what will come next from her.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for stopping by!
Happy Reading!

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