Hi All! It’s Becky, again. I was super excited when I received the audiobook of Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All through Overdrive. I had high expectations for this book and it almost lived up to my expectations. Here are my thoughts:
Title: Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
Author: Laura Ruby
Note: I listened to the audiobook.
Summary: During World War II Frankie is abandoned along with her sister in an orphanage when her father remarries and moves across the country. Frankie quickly learns how little she and other women are valued in society. Frankie experiences disappointment and heartbreak as she moves through adolescence. Her journey into adulthood is observed by a ghost who learned the same lesson many years before except her learning ended in tragedy.
Review: Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved its quirky storytelling, characters, and the beautiful way Ruby integrated mythology. You can watch our review here:
I was expecting a similar reading experience when I started Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All but, unfortunately, that is not the book I got. First, I have to admit that historical fiction is not my favorite genre. For me to really love a historical fiction it has to really grab me and, unfortunately, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All just didn’t hook me. The book felt like a very straight forward historical retelling that highlights familiar parts of history. Ruby was able to distinguish her story slightly by its examination of the role girls and women played in society. The main character, Frankie, is mistreated and discarded by her father as if she is an unwanted property just because of her sex. She and her sister are abandoned in an orphanage while their brother stays with their father because their father didn’t truly value daughters. She is told that she is only good enough to work in an office and must fight to make any choices in her life. Frankie’s story juxtaposes perfectly with the narrator who is observing the world as a ghost after dying during World War I. Our narrator had similar experiences with her family only valuing her for her ability to marry well. Through those storylines Ruby creates a much-needed discussion about women’s role in society. Ruby also uses the novel to explore the issue of race and racism in the early 1900s. The book touches on the experiences of Chinese immigrants during World War I which doesn’t make it into novels as much as it should and is a needed addition to the world of YA lit. Yet, I never got to the point where I loved this book or the characters. I was never drawn into their world or completely mesmerized by their stories like I was with Bone Gap. I will admit Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All is a well-written book and fans of historical fiction will probably really enjoy it, however, I will probably not be revisiting it.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5