Book Review: In the Wild Light

In The Wild Light by. Jeff Zentner

What happens when the place you call home ask or begs you to leave? You do it, but deep down all you can think about are the people and the loved ones you will leave behind. The whole time you are away you keep thinking that you may never see there faces again. That is what In the Wild Light, by Jeff Zentner is about.

I must start this off by saying that I have had to book for a while, and I was going to write a review months ago, but life got in the way of that. That is also what you could say about what happens to Cash, the main character. Cash is a teenager who lost his mother to a drug overdose and now he lives with his Pawpaw and Memaw as he likes to call them. Cash is trying to figure out life as a new opportunity comes his way to go to a new school with his best friend Delaney. They are starting a new chapter of their lives, but they cannot stop thinking about the last one. At least Cash cannot.

This is the third book I have read by Zentner, and it was just as great as the other two that I have read. I must say that this is not my favorite of the three, but it is the one that had me wanting to read more and learn more after the end. The story was a little slow to me at first, but after the first couple of pages everything starts to change. Like with the other books of his that I have read everything felt familiar to me. It was as if I was one of the characters or that I knew someone like them. That is why I enjoy reading his books.

This story made me sit down and think about all the things in my life and the missed moments that happen because I was away. Which is the same thing Cash is feeling as he embarks on his new school journey. This made me think about the time I went away to college, and I had to leave family behind. Reading this book brought immense joy and great sorrow for life for me. This is a story that wish would never end, and when it did, I was not sure that it did. There is so much more to tell, and I wish he would write a sequel to it.

I would recommend this book to anybody that is look for a good and quick read, which will leave you happy, but also sad for life. With all that come with it.

Book Review: The Serpent King

“If you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.” That is the quote that is on the cover of Jeff Zentner debut novel The Serpent King.  The Serpent King is the story of three high school seniors doing their senior year, and the things they must deal with from family, college, and themselves. The novel is told from three main characters Dill, Lydia, and Travis point of view.

The story starts off and end with Dill, who is the main character out of the three, and it tell the story of his family. Dill comes from a line of snake handle preacher. His dad was one, and his dad’s dad was one. Dill father is currently in prison for a hideous crime. Out of all the three, Dill must have the most uphill climb out of all the characters. His struggles with his family, his story was the one that I related to most. Not all his stuff, but majority of the stuff with college. It was close to home for me. His characters make you feel as if you have known them forever.

I am not going to give much away about the book, but if you live or grew up in the south then this book is for you. The stories about hit home for they are awfully familiar. There is a part in the middle of the book that I was not prepared for, and it change the whole dynamic of the story. I know this story well.  Spoiler ahead so read at your own risk.

As the story starts picking up one of the main characters is killed, and it is such a powerful and emotional scene that it completely changes the theme of the book in my eyes, about life. It shows how much life matters, and how death can bring things into perspective that we do not always understand. You also get to see how different people deal with grief when it hits close to home.

As a person who has not read many books in the last 10 years, this was one of the best ones, to dip my foot back into the water.

8/10