The Five Wounds

by Kirstin Valdez Quade · read February 19, 2022


Sometimes, as I'm reading, I get a sharp sense of dread about whatever will happen in the next few paragraphs and I compulsively skip ahead to check and see if I'm right about what's coming next. I always flip back to where I started and read it through properly, but I just want to know how the scene will end.

I tore through this novel, and I think I had to skip ahead several times while reading it — the most I've ever done it in recent memory. It gripped my attention: I needed to find out what would come of the Padilla family, needed to see what would happen when the knife hanging over them fell.

For that reason, I think the novel was well-written, since it pulled me into their world and made me care about what happened next. But I didn't fully enjoy reading it, because the dsyfunction bothered me, and whenever things got better I felt like they would just get worse again. (Also, I didn't like the ending.) But maybe that was the point, and if it was I applaud Valdez Quade.

As she pulls into her driveway, something sharp twists above her heart. It hurts, the knowledge that life can still hold moments like these. Out of nowhere, a dance, a visitation, a kiss. This is the world she's leaving.

Julia Rodenburg © 2024