when we were vikings

3 stars

I really enjoyed this contemporary fiction book about Zelda, a 21 year old girl with fetal alcohol syndrome who is obsessed with the Viking culture. She tries to live her life as a Viking, and strives to be a hero. Zelda lives with her older brother Gert and lives a structured life that helps her make sense of things. When Zelda learns that Gert has made some questionable and dangerous decisions to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to use her Viking skills on a quest to keep her tribe safe.

I really enjoyed this book. Zelda is a wonderful character and I loved the way she gets through life by taking lessons from a book that details the Viking culture. She lives her life by lists to help cope, but eventually discovers that some things about life don’t fit on lists. She yearns to become more independent from her brother, which he resists. She wants to explore her sexuality with her boyfriend, which is fraught with its own complications. I loved her relationship with Gert’s on and off again girlfriend Annie. Annie doesn’t coddle Zelda and respects Zelda’s as the adult she is.

After gaining a PT job at a library, Zelda starts to gain confidence and dares to dream that she could potentially live her own life. It’s this confidence that allows her to test the reaches of her Viking heroism as she puts her life in danger to protect her brother. While the climax of the book is a bit much, it’s not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.

This is an enjoyable, quick and easy book to read and recommend you read it.