The Ice Age

The Ice Age
| Reviews > Books

Seattle-born Kirsten Reed’s debut novel, The Ice Age, is the kind of book you wished would come along more often. A 17 year old hitchiking girl’s modern day cross country adventure, ‘The Ice Age’ is punky, sultry, fresh and full of disdain…

Amazon: The Ice Age

An unnamed 17 year old girl hitches a ride with a far older, promiscuous man, Gunther, and without a particular destination in mind, they find themselves drifting in and out of consciousness as the exchange puffs on a couple of joints, dine at crappy restaurants and catch a good night’s sleep at dingy motels, comforting one another as they share their lonesome existence that the narrator vigorously documents on her typewriter.

Dropping in for overnight stays at a few of Gunther’s eccentric – to say the least – friend’s houses, while our protagonist practices her kissing techniques with the local boys by vending machines, the mysterious Gunther disappears, leaving the narrator dumbstruck at what she has done to make him leave without a word, and loyally awaits for his return, only to find herself growing up in the process, making her own choices and some so disastrous, you aren’t sure if your mind is just playing tricks with you, or you’re actually reading the brutal interactions with some of the residents of one of the “tired towns” she winds up in.

The Ice Age’s lead is plucky and fresh. In the opening pages, she already reels us in, commenting on others with such typical teenage disdain, “Can they see how much cooler I am then them, more sophisticated?” she notes, strutting past a group of kids her age who eye each other up in a Mexican eye-contact stand off, proud to have Gunther “trailing behind me like a well-trained creature of the night.”

Bolshie and arrogant, yet somehow strangely caring, witty, but then hormonally sensitive and though at times her head is firmly on her shoulders, the narrator is too, naïve to the world at her feet – a character you hate to love, and love to hate – a perfectly written teenager.

Snappy quips and the realism of the voice of The Ice Age flow from line to line with such ease, even with very little description of settings, and almost, if not any, of the protagonist, the reader is still drawn into this mysterious blank-canvas outback and its inhabitants.

A simplistically told account of growing up; set amongst the backdrop of tumbleweed America, where gossip is the only point of conversation and casual sex is forced, not choice, The Ice Age is a modern classic – a shamefully underrated piece of fiction brilliance, echoing hints of The Catcher in the Rye’s and it’s ability to pull in you into Holden Caulfield’’s world, so does The Ice Age with our nameless teen.

In a next life, if The Ice Age’s narrator and Holden hooked up, it’’d be a match made in heaven. Though I’’d imagine fantasising over Caulfield cornering her in the school playground to ask her out in front of all his mates and scrawling ‘I HEART HOLDEN’ across her Maths book is far too immature for her – – her tastes are more developed then that.

Amazon: The Ice Age

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