Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Igloo by Jennifer Burkinshaw


Nirvana – Niv to friends and family - does not enjoy skiing. Her two mums and her step-brother do. She sneaks away from the pistes and stumbles across an igloo that Jean-Louis has built.  She and Jean Louis become friends and then lovers. She has to initially keep him secret from her family.

Niv is at odds with her two mums.  She wants to join an apprentice scheme and work with wood. She has been forbidden from attending a wood-work group whilst she gets ready for GCSEs.  She wants to work with the wood saved from the oak tree, nick-named Quirky, which had to be felled. Jean-Louis shows her his grandparents’ house where there is a shepherd’s table. She decides to replicate this as a miner’s table for her grandfather’s new cottage.

Jean-Louis has problems too.  His mother has constantly rejected him.   She is not a nice person – she smokes in the restaurant, she fails to stop the ski-lift when Niv almost has an accident and she makes sure that Jean-Louis’ igloo is flattened.

Niv and Jean-Louis rebuild the igloo.

A crisis point comes for both young people at the same time. Niv’s mock GCSEs are a disaster.  Jean- Louis’ mother finally leaves.

Niv steals money and credit card details from her mother and dashes back to see Jean-Louis. Mum comes after her. Niv manages to make her mum understand about what she wants in life and about Jean-Louis.

The final scene is where Niv has finished the table for her grandfather and they are having a celebration in the garage. The doorbell rings; it is Jean-Louis. Niv’s mum has sent for him. We can’t know at this point whether their relationship will last or whether Niv will succeed with her work plans but it looks very optimistic.

The novel is 294 pages long in the paperback edition.            

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