Rating: 4 / 5
WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS by Andrew David MacDonald was one of my Book of the Month picks for January and one I wanted to read right away. Even with my packed TBR last month, I managed to just barely squeeze this one in before the month ended. I received the audio from Libro.FM as well so did a combination of print and audio for this one!
In WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS we follow Zelda, a 21-year-old born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She is obsessed with Viking stories and culture and strives to live the life of a Viking. Zelda lives with her older brother Gert who loves his little sister but doesn’t always make the wisest decisions. When Gert gets in with some shady characters and winds up more than a bit out of control, Zelda decides to step up as the hero of her own story.
I picked this one up at the end of January wanting a lighter read after some heavier topics. I both did and did not get what I was looking for in this one. This one deals with some heavy topics including discrimination against those not seen as “normal”. Zelda doesn’t have many physical characteristics that give away her fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosis, but in speaking with her some identify her as someone easy to take advantage of. My heart hurt for Zelda as I read situations where I knew something bad was coming that her innocence didn’t recognize.
Still, in the character of Zelda I did get the lightheartedness I was looking for. Her innocence and joy for life is heartwarming. She knows she’s different and she finds ways to strive to learn to overcome some of her limitations. She has built herself a viking clan, a found family in the people who run the day program she goes to and her brother’s ex-girlfriend. I really appreciated the growth in Zelda throughout the book and the support system surrounding her.
WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS was a fantastic read and great on audio as well. I would absolutely recommend Zelda’s story for your TBR!