Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller is the second book down my Tin House rabbit hole and the first of two-girl living with a crazy guy out in the forest books. I am also reading The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis and will review it soon. Our Endless Numbered Days is another book that will mess with your mind.
Peggy aka Punzel begins life with her father James, who makes her pack a rucksack to prepare for emergencies and is a survivalist, and her mother, who plays the piano while Peggy's father gets a bit stranger.
One day, when Peggy is 7, her father tells her to pack her rucksack because they are going to live in the woods. James tells Punzel that her mother is dead as is the rest of the world. In order to survive, they must live in this secluded cabin and learn to live off of the land.
The story begins innocently as Punzel (short for Rapunzel) relies on her father and begins learning everything from him to survive. He also does special things for her, such as building weighted piano keys so Punzel can practice the piano. They sleep in the same bed and rely on one another.
Years begin to pass and James' behavior starts getting stranger and stranger. He starts calling Punzel her mother's name and cries out that her mother left him. The more strange her father becomes, the further Punzel begins to travel away from the cabin until one day she finds a pair of shoes in the woods and a man connected to those shoes. For 10 years, her father has been lying to her. What will Punzel do?
The book itself is entirely told through Punzel's eyes and jumps between two points in time. The main narrative progresses as Punzel gets older, but the book also jumps to 10 years later where Peggy is reunited with her mother and her younger brother who happens to be 10 years old. We learn what happened out in the forest, what happened to James, and what life was like for those 10 years.
The great thing about this story is that Peggy aka Punzel becomes an unreliable narrator, simply because she is in a state of arrested development. We will also learn other things which will make her unreliable, but it would be a huge spoiler if I shared them on this blog. As stated in another review, I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.
There is also a web of lies that float throughout this entire book. People withhold information to each other, like crazy. Not only James telling Punzel that everyone is dead, but there are other lies that float throughout. The great thing is the author doesn't blatantly fill in the blanks for the readers. One must put the pieces together and figure out what the truth is.
I am calling this book one of those books that I absolutely loved, but others may not. It does have some harsh scenes that might not sit well with others. Some may also be frustrated by the need to fill in blanks. I loved it though and cannot wait for Fuller's second book coming out in December.
I gave this one 5 stars!
Here is your Amazon link- Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Here is a Tin House link to the book too- Our Endless Numbered Days