Picture of author.

Andrew David MacDonaldKirja-arvosteluja

Teoksen When We Were Vikings tekijä

2 teosta 487 jäsentä 37 arvostelua


englanti (36)  saksa (1)  Kaikki kielet (37)
I love the phrase "swan in a cemetery."
This was beautifully written, and reminded me a lot of THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS in terms of the bravery that it encounters and adventuring out on one's own. I enjoyed.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
whakaora | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 5, 2023 |
I went into this blind and it was a BOTM pick for me. While I enjoyed the character of Zelda, who has fetal alcohol syndrome and navigates the world openly, but with rules, it was the story which threw me for a curveball.

Zelda’s narration and worldview makes this book fun to read. It begins though with the story of her brother, who has recently broken up with his girlfriend AK47 (yes, really) and has begun connecting with a local drug distributor Toucan. It begin with. Zelda not knowing what is happening, but discovering clues along the way. This story was great and could have carried the book.

The odd digression was Zelda also wants to have sex with her boyfriend Marxie “who is like her.” Absolutely nothing wrong with this, except it begins to take over the back half of the book for several chapters, not just a couple, several. It was an odd steering in the narration flow as the rest of the main story just disappears for those chapters, except for cameos by Toucan and Hendo.

It will come back to the main story, but to me, it threw the narration off. It is probably 3.5 stars.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Nerdyrev1 | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 23, 2022 |
Zelda, a young woman born with fetal alcohol syndrome, lives with her older brother, Gert. They were previously living with an abusive uncle, but to get away, Gert borrows money from a shady character – not his best idea. Zelda is a fan of Vikings. She knows she is different and wants to create her own legend, just as a Viking would aspire to do. She makes a checklist to accomplish her goal.

The novel is written in first person from Zelda’s perspective. The language is direct, as if Zelda is talking to the reader. The primary theme is enabling people to self-actualize as much as their abilities permit. The author gets a bit carried away with the f-bombs. Near the end it turns into a thriller, which is not my taste, but I liked Zelda and felt a sense of compassion for her and her friends.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Castlelass | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 30, 2022 |

If you haven't already picked this gem up, the novel is centre around Zelda, a high functioning young adult diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The heroic heroine is a viking enthusiast and uses "Kepple's Guide to the Vikings", a book Zelda reads obsessively as a handbook to her everyday life. The smooth and easy read told in Zelda's perspective is a phenomenal coming-to-age story filled with love, legends, and self-discovery. It was a pull at the heartstrings type of story that further enthralled the reader with the out of ordinary characters, storyline, and content.

Merkitty asiattomaksi
ayoshina | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 31, 2022 |
This book is absolutely amazing, the best I have read so far this year and honestly it would take a lot to knock it off its #1 throne right now. I fell in love with the main character, her tenacity, courage and dedication to those she considers her 'tribe'. One of the key elements I look for in any book is character development and woah does this story have it. The author does an absolutely excellent job of not trying to whitewash everything, there are flawed characters everyone. He doesn't try to make everything pure good or pure evil and doesn't give you the ending in a nice little box wrapped in bow. It was an emotional rollercoaster but I am so glad to have ridden it. I will definitely be recommending this book to everyone and I look forward to more work from this author.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
awesomejen2 | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 21, 2022 |
Zelda suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. The mom passed away leaving Zelda and her brother (after a detour to their Uncle Richard)'s house to fend for themselves. With the help of Dr. Laird, a community center, and a great friend named AK47 ... they do OK.

You really see the world through Zelda's eyes. She is obsessed with Viking culture, and innocent? She hangs out with some rough people who use a lot of adult language and she incorporates these phrases into her vocabulary.
Zelda and Gert live in a pretty rough world. And this book does get pretty graphic.

And touching.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
wellington299 | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 19, 2022 |
Not sure whether to consider this a YA or not -- it is rife with the burgeoning sexuality of the young narrator, and the language is definitely R-rated, but the protagonist is a young woman coming of age under trying circumstances.

Zelda is 21 years old, but developmentally still an adolescent. Born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, she struggles to make sense of a world she doesn't always understand, and her fascination with all things Viking gives her guidelines for honor and family loyalty that often clash with the reality of her world.

She lives with her brother, Gert, a young adult whose sense of responsibility for Zelda's well-being has driven him into several poor decisions, exacerbated by his own short fuse and his conviction that he will never succeed at anything important.

These two people are fiercely devoted to one another, but that very allegiance and its concomitant "us against the world" attitude often keeps each of them from becoming fully realized individuals.

Zelda's desire to consummate her relationship with a young man who is also developmentally disabled is handled with sensitivity, but the narrative acknowledges that the odds are stacked against the pair.

The open-ended resolution provides a little light at the end of the tunnel. Most readers will come away feeling Zelda may overcome, but Gert's future is still in grave doubt.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
LyndaInOregon | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 8, 2021 |
I loved this book! It’s actually 4 1/2 stars I took off 1/2 a star because of the sexual assault. Like I get it, Toucan is a bad guy, but did we have to get details, did it have to even happen. We knew he was bad without that scene. I couldn't get emotional at the ending because my brain was still dealing with that.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
theEmmers | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 24, 2021 |
Charming book about a girl living with her brother. She has fetal alcohol syndrome but her brother does not. This is a coming of age story revolving around her and her brother Gert. They have had a difficult life with abuse and adiction.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
janismack | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 27, 2021 |
When We Were Vikings is about Zelda, a high functioning 21 year old diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, who is a Viking enthusiast trying to figure out her life quest. Zelda lives with her brother Gert after both of their parents died when they were young. Gert and his on again/off again girlfriend Annie, whom Zelda calls AK47, make up Zelda's main tribe. Together, they try to figure out their legacies.

Andrew David MacDonald delivered an amazing story. I absolutely adored the character of Zelda. The way she loved Vikings and applied the Viking culture to make it through life's difficulties was endearing. I loved Zelda and I just wanted her to succeed. Her blunt, unembellished language was easy to read and refreshing. Whether it's telling off thugs or talking about sex and periods, Zelda says what she thinks.

Her brother Gert also tried to figure out how to not only live his life and figure the world out, but also tried to help Zelda figure hers out. He attempted to work with the cards he'd been dealt, but in all honesty, he seemed to constantly grab from the pile ones that just made life harder - he was always making messes that others were cleaning up after, even Zelda herself. I just wanted to sit him down and tell him to get it together and keep it together.

This book had a lot of concepts in it that worked for me. The characters are both quirky and realistic. It's endearing and heartwarming; it's full of love and hate. Some portions of the book made me laugh out loud while others made me want to slam the book shut out of frustration. It had some light themes but also some pretty dark themes. When We Were Vikings earned a spot on my Recommended Fiction List.

"...The point is you're willing to give it a try. That's what makes someone a legend."
Merkitty asiattomaksi
oldandnewbooksmell | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 24, 2021 |
Die 21-jährige Zelda ist etwas anders als andere Menschen. Manche behaupten, dass sie eine Macke hat. Doch Zelda ist auf feste Strukturen in ihrem Leben angewiesen. Sie ist begeistert von den Wikingern und deren Kultur. Sie wohnt mit ihren älteren Bruder Gert zusammen, auf den sie sich immer verlassen konnte. Doch als Gert von der Bahn abkommt, ist es Zelda, die versucht Gert zu retten.
Mir hat dieser Roman gut gefallen, der aus Zeldas Perspektive erzählt wird. So kommt man dieser jungen Frau sehr nahe und kann sich in sie hineinversetzen. Der Schreibstil ist leicht zu lesen und verständlich.
Als die Mutter mit Zelda schwanger war, hat sie zu viel getrunken und so ist Zelda in manchem eingeschränkt, was man ihr aber nicht ansieht. Da der Vater verschwunden ist, muss sich Gert um Zelda kümmern, als die Mutter stirbt. Doch damit ist er oft überfordert. Er verstrickt sich immer mehr in kriminellen Kreisen. Nun musss Zelda für Gert da sein und ihn retten. Zelda wirkt manchmal naiv, aber dennoch ist sie eine starke junge Frau, die ihr Leben gut im Griff hat und nicht aufgibt, wenn etwas nicht ganz gerade läuft. Sie hat aber auch Menschen um sich, die sie lieben und es ihr leicht machen.
Es ist eine berührende Geschichte, die ich nur empfehlen kann.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
buecherwurm1310 | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 23, 2021 |
i really, really liked this. and i say that even though it went in unexpected (and not wholly satisfying) directions. the voice of zelda was just so powerful and well done, and so is her desire to "be legendary" and write her own story.

the weaving in of viking history and lore works so well with this story and character. i love the way this is about finding your own way, but also about supportive family and community. the character of ak47 is fantastic, and gert, while so flawed, is also wonderful and so real. gert taking on responsibility that he couldn't handle, and making bad decisions while trying to protect himself and zelda, while so young, is such a true story. as is zelda's response to it. this is the lovely crux of the book for me. and the way it's told not just through her perspective, but with her viking mentality - using viking terminology for things (horde, tribe, etc).

the side story of zelda and marxy, especially the sexual encounter, seemed a bit unnecessary, and took away from the main point, to me. not that it was happening or that marxy was her boyfriend (while he was), but it was a long digression that didn't seem important to the main story.

still, her voice is one of the more memorable i've read in ages, and i loved it.

writing a cognitively impaired first person narrative is a dicey endeavor, and at first i was unsure if this would pass a sensitivity test. i think and hope it would, because it is so beautifully and lovingly done.½
Merkitty asiattomaksi
overlycriticalelisa | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 19, 2021 |
Zelda ist anders als andere junge Frauen. Sie interessiert sich nicht für ihr Aussehen oder Instagram Profile, sondern für Wikinger. Sie weiß alles über die längst versunkene Kultur und transformiert ihren Alltag nach den Gesetzen der Nordmänner. So gibt es klare Regeln in der Wohnung von Zelda und ihrem Bruder Gert und die Sippe steht immer an oberster Stelle. Gert würde alles für seine kleine Schwester tun, er weiß auch, dass er der einzige ist, der sie nach dem Tod der Eltern vor der bösen Welt draußen beschützen kann, alleine kann sie das nämlich nicht. Mit einem festen Netz an Unterstützern gelingt das meist auch – bis es Komplikationen gibt.

In seinem Debütroman hat Andrew David MacDonald ein außergewöhnliches Thema zum zentralen Aspekt der Handlung gemacht. Die Protagonistin Zelda leidet an einer ausgeprägten Form des fetalen Alkoholsyndroms und hat daher eine Entwicklung als gesunde Menschen genommen. Sie ist sich dessen bewusst, dass ihr Leben anders ist als jenes von Gleichaltrigen, aber sie ist nicht alleine, sondern hat Freunde in ähnlichen Situationen und mit ihrem Bruder auch jemanden, der für sie durchs Feuer gehen würde.

Diversität in der Literatur ist schon lange ein drängendes Thema und es ist ohne Frage eine begrüßenswerte Entwicklung, dass zunehmend Figuren geschaffen werden, die sich gesellschaftlich eher am Rand oder sogar von diesem verdrängt finden. Autismus-Spektrumsstörungen sind ja inzwischen gar nicht mehr so selten, auch psychische Erkrankungen wie Depressionen findet man recht häufig, das fetale Alkoholsyndrom erscheint mir jedoch ein echtes Novum. Dass der Autor seine Protagonistin zur Erzählerin macht, unterstreicht, dass er nicht über Menschen mit FAS schreiben möchte, sondern ihnen eine Stimme verleiht. Ob er ihr und anderen Betroffenen jedoch damit einen Gefallen tut, möchte ich mit einem großen Fragezeichen versehen.

Das Lesen war bisweilen ein Kraftakt, Zeldas Perspektive und Ausdrucksweise ist herausfordernd, um es positiv zu beschreiben. Ihre naive eingeschränkte Sichtweise und die extreme Fokussierung auf Wikinger sind womöglich recht realistisch dargestellt, was auch durchaus einen Blick in ihre Welt erlaubt. Auch ihr Vorhaben mit ihrem Freund das erste Mal zu begehen hat durchaus amüsante Seiten, die kritischen Fragen werden dabei jedoch ganz dezent nur leicht gestreift, um nicht wirklich zu problematisieren. Sie gerät dann doch noch in eine gefährliche Situation, aus der sie jedoch unbeschadet herauskommt und am Ende ist vieles Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen, weil sie einen Job hat und in ihrer eigenen Wohnung lebt.

Welcher Eindruck bleibt also? Ein liebenswertes Mädchen, dem dann doch alles gelingt, was es möchte. Leider stellt sich die Realität oftmals ganz anders dar und genau jene unterstützenden Strukturen, die Zelda retten, sind bei den FAS Betroffenen genau nicht vorhanden. Jede Ausprägung ist individuell, aber große Lesebegeisterung und Aneignung von neuem Wissen gehört nicht so wirklich typisch zu dem Syndrom. Wie bei vielen Retardierungen, die sich auf die Kognition auswirken, sind die Menschen hochgradig gefährdet und statistisch signifikant häufiger Opfer von Gewalt. Ob es da hilft, ein rosarotes Bild zu malen und vor allem auch die Alltagsschwierigkeiten so herunterzuspielen?

Das Urteil fällt daher gemischt aus: ein wichtiges Thema, durchaus oft auch amüsant zu lesen ist, aber die kritische Frage, ob hier nicht ein ziemliches beschönigtes Bild gezeichnet wird, das im schlimmsten Fall einen völlig falschen Eindruck der Folgen von Alkohol in der Schwangerschaft vermittelt, muss auch gestellt werden.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
miss.mesmerized | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 4, 2021 |
zelda is a young adult & is on the fetal alcohol spectrum & views herself as a modern-day Viking. she ends up finding out that he brother has been involved in some questionable acts and she wants to be a hero & protect her family. she wants to be legendary & take matters into her own hands. zelda lives with her older brother & follows many basic rules like using fist bumps & dabs for respect.⠀

i understand that a large portion of the book was to depict zelda as brave & to encourage everyone that they can be a legend, but i just didn’t enjoy the overall story of the book. it wasn’t necessarily bad, just super quirky and one i wouldn’t choose to read again. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Merkitty asiattomaksi
emilybythebookvine | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 6, 2021 |
4.5 Quirky in the best way. The book opens on Zelda's 21st birthday when a handsome man dressed as a Viking shows up at the door. In another story this would have its own set of expectations, but she is cognitively impaired by the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and has a very unique approach to life. First of all, she is obsessed with Vikings and their history, their legends, and their code of honor. This has largely become the model for her own life. Secondly, she thrives under "rules" and structure, some of which is borrowed from Viking lore. However, her living situation is short on structure - she lives with her slightly older brother Gert who does his best to care for her and keep her safe, but the deck is stacked against them. He dropped out of HS when their mother died. They lived with a creepy uncle and narrowly avoided disastrous abuse by leaving his house to strike out on their own. Unfortunately, this required Gert to get involved with some unsavory characters (Toucan, Hendo, the Fat Man) and drug delivery. He is under tremendous pressure to fulfill his obligations to them, but also to straighten out his own life - he is enrolled in college and studying for an econ degree, as far as Zelda knows. She has some awesome support (her tribe): Dr. Laird, Gert's ex-girlfriend, Annie (AK47), the community center folks and her own boyfriend Marxy, who is also cognitively challenged and lives with his mother Pearl. Zelda is resourceful and high-functioning and she gets a job at the library which also becomes a support system. Part of the plot line is Zelda's determination to have her own legend and so she makes a list based on what the Viking legends model and the ways she applies this - sometimes literally, and sometimes adaptively account for much of the humor in the book. (Marxy is her fair maiden for example) But this helps her to make sense of her world and become a principle actor in it. She faces some really harrowing situations with the villains (Toucan and co.) but with some luck and the support of her tribe, she does indeed become legendary.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
CarrieWuj | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 24, 2020 |
Really torn about my feelings on this book! Will not be suggesting as a book to read!! 2 plus stars!
Merkitty asiattomaksi
juliarum | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 21, 2020 |
Loved it. Great heroine.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
chasidar | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 27, 2020 |
The Viking my brother got me for my birthday was tall and had muscles. Even if you were not an expert on Vikings and had not read Kepple's Guide to the Vikings, you would say, that this is a Viking. He looked like he could defeat hordes of villains and commit acts of bravery, like Beowulf, the most famous Viking, who defeated Grendel, who was not only a regular villain but was also a monster.

I really liked this book - it was rather sweet and charming, but had a big message.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
taurus27 | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 3, 2020 |
I liked the book. FAS well explained. Loved being the hero in your own life. Unpredictable ending
Merkitty asiattomaksi
shazjhb | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 29, 2020 |

I'm intrigued by books that are written from the point of view of people who a cognitively atypical for whatever reason: 'Rain, Reign', 'The Seven Imperfect Rules Of Elvira Carr', 'The Rosie Project' and now 'When We Were Vikings'.

I like them partly because my own thought processes and reactions have often been seen as atypical so I have a certain fellow-feeling but mostly because they look at people trying to make the most of their lives not by attempting to achieve a normality expected by other people but by building on their own strengths, acknowledging their own weaknesses and to become more themselves. Of course, I also like that the main characters are engaging and that the situations that they navigate are well-grounded in reality.

Zelda, the main character in 'When We Were Vikings' thinks differently because her cognition has been affected by foetal alcohol syndrome. In Zelda's case, the physical differences are minimal apart from her small size but she has to work harder at memory, maths, social skills and thinking things through. Zelda knows this and sets out to try harder so that she can be more.

Zelda has become of fan of Viking culture through reading Kepple's 'Guide To The Vikings' which her brother bought her as a birthday present. The Vikings appeal to her because they lived by a code that requires loyalty to the tribe, because women Vikings could become powerful warriors, but most of all because Vikings could become heroes by creating their own legends. It is Zelda's intention to become legendary and she backs up that intention with a checklist of goals and a plan.

This may all sound a little twee. It isn't. Zelda is twenty-one. She lives with her older brother Gert, who is trying to get through college. Her tribe consists of Gert and his sometimes girl-friend Annie, who Zelda calls AK47. Zelda and her brother are orphans who have fled from an abusive uncle. They live in poverty in a tough part of town and even that has had to be funded in ways that have gotten Girt involved with some dangerous people.

Zelda is trying to live a full life. She wants to contribute to the tribe. She wants to have sex with her boyfriend, who also has cognitive problems. She wants to protect her brother.

This book walks the line between poignant and mushy without crossing it. The world Zelda lives in is one filled with the potential for violence and failure. Yet Zelda drives herself to be as legendary as she can. Zelda does well but not in a way that is unrealistic. She has failures as well as successes. She's not a kick-ass warrior. She is often afraid and she sometimes fails to understand the risks she's taking and puts herself and the people around her in danger.

I don't know if the way Zelda thinks is a realistic portrayal of how someone with her cognitive problems would think. I do know that Zelda won my heart. I cared what happened to her and that seems more important than whether she is an accurate portrayal of the thought processes of someone affected by foetal alcohol syndrome.

After all, accepting Zelda for who she is and not what she is, is what the whole book is about.

I strongly recommend the audiobook version of 'When We Were Vikings'. Phoebe Strole gives a powerful performance. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


Merkitty asiattomaksi
MikeFinnFiction | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 11, 2020 |
Another Internet Indie Book store BookClub recommendations. Quite good. One hella differently abled woman as the main character. Pandemic Read.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
bookczuk | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 1, 2020 |
Similar in concept to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this book is told in first person from the perspective of Zelda, a high-functioning young adult with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Zelda lives with her brother, Gert, and the book explores her coming of age and reckoning with the life circumstances in which the two find themselves.

I've been struggling a little thinking about how to rate this book. I thought that the book was an interesting look into Zelda's world, and I think that it definitely raised some thoughts on topics like the spectrum of disability and sexuality. At the same time, though, I didn't connect with it as much as I might have hoped. Also, be aware that there is generally a LOT of profanity and a fair bit of violence throughout the book.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
forsanolim | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 12, 2020 |
Zelda MacLeish is a 21 year old living with her brother, Gert. Zelda's brain does not operate the same way other people's do as she is a product of fetal alcohol syndrome. Zelda loves Vikings and sets out to make her own legend as an adult while confronting the brother that she loves and who is making a mess out of his own life.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
phoenixcomet | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 28, 2020 |
An utterly charming story of a developmentally-disabled but high-functioning young girl navigating the cusp of adulthood. A very enjoyable read.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
RandyRasa | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 6, 2020 |
Thanks to the Goodreads Giveaway program and publisher Scout Press/Simon & Schuster for a copy of this book. All comments and opinions are my own.

I liked the premise. Zelda, the 21-year-old protagonist who has fetal alcohol syndrome and lives with her older brother Gert, wants to become more independent - to get a real job, have sex with her developmentally delayed boyfriend, and become a Viking legend. Zelda narrates the story, so the reader sees how naive she is and how she often misunderstands what is being said and what is going on. Zelda is likable, as are the other main characters. And the villains are thoroughly despicable. The theme of vikings/legends/quests was nicely woven throughout story. The author does an excellent job of portraying the world of disabled young adults, but I honestly resented him trying to write about sexuality from a young woman's point of view. The language could also be offensive with the heavy use of four-letter words throughout. The climax is violent and contains an attempted rape.

So it was difficult to decide how to rate this book and I'm hesitant to recommend it without a cautionary explanation.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
PhyllisReads | 36 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 28, 2020 |