Saturday, July 28, 2012

Snow Angels; Stewart O'Nan

Title: Snow Angels
Author:  Stewart O'Nan
Publication Year: book-1994 / audio-2008
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Edition:  audiobook
Reader: Malcom Hillgartner
Source: library
Setting: Pennsylvania 
Date Completed: July/2012
Rating: 3.5/5 
Recommend: not on audio

Snow Angels, was a very dark novel of small town life in Pennsylvania in the mid-1970s.  It's a tragic story that involves two families, and as the tragedy is introduced early on the story then flashes back so that the reader gets the full picture of events leading up to the tragedy.

In the story, Arthur Parkinson, now a grown man returns to his childhood community in PA, where he reflects on the events which attributed to his unhappy childhood.  His parents were not nurturing parents, rather selfish and self-centered.  After some irresponsible acts, their marriage dissolves, and 15 year-old Arthur now moves with his mother to a rundown apartment. He becomes aloof, and he copes by smoking pot, listening to loud music and pretending not to care, about his new situation or the lives his parents are now leading.

The other story involves Arthur's former babysitter, Annie Marchand, another selfish, self-centered woman, who puts her own desires ahead of her daughter Tara. She leaves her husband, a man who soon begins to lose his grip and spirals out of control.

Without giving away too much of this short novel, I must say that I found all of the characters, with the exception of Arthur, to be their own worst enemies. I felt for Arthur, as his life growing up was what it was because of the irresponsible acts of those who were responsible for him.  Although this was not a favorite O'Nan book of mine, it's probably the most depressing of any that I've read or listened to, it was still a good story.  This is one book that I DO NOT recommend listening to the audio. Although the reader was good, the tone made the story seem all the more bleak.


  1. I think the cover alone brings across the bleakness of the story. This may be one I like, but would have to be in the right frame of mind.

  2. Too much bleakness is not good for me! I get really down after that.

  3. I really want to try one of O'Nan's books but think I'll start with something else.

  4. When I'm in the mood for this type of book I will try to remember this one! Thanks for the heads up on the audio version!

  5. Sounds like a book the reader has to be in the mood for. I've only read one O'Nan book and did not become a fan.

  6. I love O'Nan, but won't be in too much of a hurry to read this one... but when I do, it will be in print!

  7. I only listened to one O'Nan book and wasn't a big fan. (It was The Odds.) But I do want to give him another chance because I can see how he is a good writer that gets all the details just right. I think I will read him in print next time ... but maybe not this one.


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