Shadow Tag

Shadow Tag - Louise Erdrich Louise Erdrich has brilliantly succeeded in taking the old, tiresome story of 2 people stuck in a hurtful marriage and made it fresh and shocking. Through alternating points of view, Erdrich tells the story of Irene and Gil, married with 3 kids, who are playing an emotional tennis match- taking turns hurting each other, then reassuring each other, only to cause the other pain once again. The reader may not particularly like either of these characters, especially in the light of what they are doing to their children, but what makes the novel work is that both Gil and Irene alternate between being charming and sweet one moment to utterly exasperating the next.

The children, in their innocence, become the voice of wisdom in the novel. Irene recognizes this, like when one of them is drawing pictures of her and Irene notices an object in her hand in each picture and the child says oh, that's your wine glass. And while she tries to be a good mother, she allows herself to stay caught up in the games with Gil.

To say Gil has a control issue would be an understatement. He is akin to those men one can occasionally catch on a Dr. Phil show- Controlling Husbands and the Women Who Love Them. And he sure won't win any father of the year awards. Yet, he has his moments when the reader gets sucked in by his charm, just like Irene, because he really does love her, sure mostly in a sickeningly needy way, but he does love her.

All in all, the writing was fantastic and the construction of the novel made for a page-turning read.