read online books When We Were Vikings – Andy-palmer.co.uk


When We Were Vikings Sometimes life isn t as simple as heroes and villains For Zelda, a twenty one year old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rulesA smile means thank you for doing something small that I likedFist bumps and dabs respectStrange people are not appreciated in her homeTomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wetSometimes the most important things don t fit on lists But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable and dangerous methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest Her mission to be legendary It isn t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all We are all legends of our own making What a fine A VERY FINE story Andrew David MacDonald has brought us in When We Were Vikings That ending was just beautiful I m still leaking tears as I write this review At the end of this epic tale, this talented author did not leave any loose ends untied we certainly have a lot to learn from Viking lore For Zelda the world is a place where courage and being part of a tribe meansthan anything else where we are all Vikings paddling together, to the beat of the same drum Zel What a fine A VERY FINE story Andrew David MacDonald has brought us in When We Were Vikings That ending was just beautiful I m still leaking tears as I write this review At the end of this epic tale, this talented author did not leave any loose ends untied we certainly have a lot to learn from Viking lore For Zelda the world is a place where courage and being part of a tribe meansthan anything else where we are all Vikings paddling together, to the beat of the same drum Zelda was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, due to her mother s heavy drinking Their biker father died in prison Their mother died shortly after, leaving them to the mercy of their abusive Uncle Richard But, somehow, both Zelda and Gert were going to defy the odds and escape the stereotypical outcome for two young people who were caught in the vice of poverty and abuse or would they Gert is encouraged by one of his girlfriends to apply for a hardship scholarship to the state college He was awarded a scholarship, due mostly to the moving essay he submitted which he won t let Zelda read and life improves for the better for this hapless pair But Gert s alcohol and drug addictions, and his self defeating attitude to life cause him to mess up time and again, threatening their fragile world As he himself admits there are people around the poker table of life whose hands aren t perfect and they see what they have and fold right away They don t even bother playing Unfortunately, Gert is well on the way to becoming one of those folders , unless Zelda can marshal every ounce of courage in her tiny body and set out to save her brother from all the evil forces that are threatening to destroy her precious tribe During Zelda s perilous and often horrifying quest, I was spellbound as Zelda learned to becomeself reliant and confident in her abilities she made me see ability, not disability You might well be thinking that this tale is all Forrest Gump gets inducted to the Sons of Anarchy biker gang and for a while there I thought that this was exactly where we were headed But I am pleased to report that this story has so many levels to it, very few of which could be labeled predictable These characters were real and precious to me I wanted to cover brave, tiny Zelda in a suit of armour Her trust is continually abused, she suffers a major crisis of faith and the reality of stark, ugly death almost destroys her completely What a legendary journey, indeed I rate this a 10 out of 5 star read I could barely catch my breath when I finished the last sentence This truly impressive novel should be read by everyone.My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review I absolutely loved being inside of Zelda s mind Zelda, a high functioning young adult diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, has something about her that everyone can relate to While exploring life s boundaries, she often compares her world to the Viking world Though others consider Zelda not normal , she considers her life a quest and strives to fulfill her legacy while searching for identity, battling for independence, and overcoming life s villains.I told him that I was used to itI absolutely loved being inside of Zelda s mind Zelda, a high functioning young adult diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, has something about her that everyone can relate to While exploring life s boundaries, she often compares her world to the Viking world Though others consider Zelda not normal , she considers her life a quest and strives to fulfill her legacy while searching for identity, battling for independence, and overcoming life s villains.I told him that I was used to it People call me a retard all the timeHer older brother and caregiver, Gert, really pulled on my heart strings as well He doesn t always make the right decisions, but I felt like he had good intentions Gert truly represents the depth and complexity of life s unexpected turns Gert s character speaks volumes, and it is difficult to fully love him or fully hate himWe do not have very much money, but Gert is powerful at surviving life s battlesSexual freedom among the cognitively disabled is a topic explored in this novel Zelda has intimate feelings for her boyfriend and wants to explore those feelings like most other young adults would Please note that there is a long segment on this topic The language was very colorful, and I loved it Zelda often utilizes her Word of the Day , but she also mimics the language of her peers and environment As a result, this book is filled with adult language, but it made it so muchpalpableThose people, the ones who don t trust Gert, are shit heels and fuck dicks, because Gert is one of the smartest people I know, and the bravestI think this book will create excellent conversations and highly recommend it for a buddy read or group read It has several controversial topics and covers a lot of current issues with cognitively disabled young adults Though sensitive in subject areas, if you do have a respectful and close reading group it would inspire valuable discussionAnd sometimes the heroes of legends have to break the rules in order to save the people they care aboutWhat are the differences between responsibility and accountability How do we decide where accountability falls Can someone who loves you be bad for you I really enjoyed this book and couldn t put it down The last chapter, especially the very last page, had me in tears I think we can all learn many lessons from Zelda Thank you Gallery Scout Press, NetGalley, and Andrew David MacDonald for this copy Opinions are my own.More on these topics Living with Fetal Alcohol SyndromeCognitive Disability and SexualityEmployment with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterestWHEN WE WERE VIKINGS is a book that has a very interesting premise but is potentially problematic in a lot of ways I breezed through it pretty quickly normally a good sign but when I finished, I found that I had a really bad taste in my mouth Something about the book really didn t sit right with me I finished the book on my lunch break and spent the rest of the day with my thoughts on the back burner, trying to figure out, what, e Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterestWHEN WE WERE VIKINGS is a book that has a very interesting premise but is potentially problematic in a lot of ways I breezed through it pretty quickly normally a good sign but when I finished, I found that I had a really bad taste in my mouth Something about the book really didn t sit right with me I finished the book on my lunch break and spent the rest of the day with my thoughts on the back burner, trying to figure out, what, exactly, it was about the book that rubbed me the wrong way I think I figured out what those things are, but before I get into that, I need to tell you what the book is about.WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS is the story of Zelda, a high functioning adult with fetal alcohol syndrome She lives with her older brother, Gert a man who should be in college but instead works as a runner for a local gang Zelda, who lives her whole life by rules that make her feelcomfortable, takes umbrage with this, and when Gert s activities get all of them into trouble, she takes it upon herself to bail her brother out.Interspersed with this are scenes of Zelda s everyday life she goes to an adult daycare where they teach her life skills she ll need to take care of herself she has a boyfriend, a developmentally disabled boy named Marxy, with whom she wants to have sex and she also sees a therapist named Dr Laird, who she talks to about everything else Zelda has a narrow scope of interests, which mostly revolve around vikings and dabbing She dabs at people to greet them, and lives her whole life to the viking credo, including talking in Ancient Norse and, later, hefting around a giant viking sword.So what didn t I like about this book Honestly, I m shocked that this book has such high ratings I m guessing that people probably think the subject matter is brave, but I found a lot of it upsetting First, this whole book feels incredibly exploitative in some ways Zelda has fetal alcohol syndrome, which typically causes facial irregularities or deformatives Zelda is quick to tell us she doesn t have these she s just a small woman All the men in this book think she is SO attractive and keep telling her how hot she is What makes this extra icky is a big part of this book involves a subplot with Zelda wanting to have sex for the first time with her developmentally disabled boyfriend.I get that people with disabilities want to have sex, too, but making sex the major focus of Zelda s internal and external sense of worth seemed kind of gross When she and her boyfriend do go at it, it goes horribly, horribly wrong It was SO cringe The only other action she gets is from a guy she refers to as normal normal meaning not disabled very ableist who only wants to use her, and a guy who attempts to rape her So even though sex is a big part of this book, none of it works out well for Zelda She is lusted after by virtually all male characters in this book but doesn t really get to experience any empowering sexuality for herself it s all abuse and disappointment.I also felt like the whole viking and dabbing angle was really twee It felt like an excuse to make Zelda seem precious and quirky Like a manic pixie dream girl She even refers to herself as a valkyrie Everyone else in this book is super quirky too, just in case that wasn t annoying enough And what s with the blurb calling this book heart swelling It s actually really disturbing and dark and takes a pretty dismal look at how women and people with disabilities are viewed Even Zelda, the main character, looks down her nose at her less functional peers with superiority Yikes Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 2.5 stars As a fan of all things Vikings, I was drawn to the cover of this novel and had a certain expectation on how it would follow If the blurb and quotes did not give it away, I soon found myself questioning if I had the correct book at hand that I so expectantly put on top of my tbr the moment it was in my possession What I was reading was both plain and endearing in the use of verbiage but also resembled the main adult protagonist of child like character How was this supposed to make a leap from As a fan of all things Vikings, I was drawn to the cover of this novel and had a certain expectation on how it would follow If the blurb and quotes did not give it away, I soon found myself questioning if I had the correct book at hand that I so expectantly put on top of my tbr the moment it was in my possession What I was reading was both plain and endearing in the use of verbiage but also resembled the main adult protagonist of child like character How was this supposed to make a leap from a coming of age story to the fierce tales of the Vikings I signed up for Zelda is a young woman with cognitive differences Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, she lives with her brother Gert who struggles to take care of her and make ends meet After their mother had died, they lived with their uncle until they moved out on their own to escape his abusive tendencies Gert being a young adult himself, is trying to juggle many aspects of his own life, college, jobs, girlfriends, while tending to the well being and emotional needs for Zelda, the bills and putting food on the table The two of them have set up rules to follow and they are clearly posted around the apartment For the most part, this and her weekly visits to a therapist plus her friends from the community center keep Zelda stable What Gert does not anticipate or is prepared for are Zelda s aspirations growing from observing the world around her She is in love with a young man named Marxy who has differences as well She wants to be legendary like a Viking and do right by her incredible sense of justice and is in preparations to have sex for the first time and get a real job at the library While Gert s life is slowly unraveling making the wrong choices, dealing for money, Zelda is inadvertently taken advantage of by the wrong kind of people A situation that could cost them both dearly What prevails is love, but that isn t even half of the story As you can see, it isn t a book of Viking raids and plunders, but one of heroes of a different kind of tale, courageous and valiant in its own right So much so, that I was taken by the powerful message it held about people with cognitive differences, invisible disabilities, and an unbreakable spirit What a great surprise of a novel It took a while to get into the grove of reading in Zelda s POV in the appropriate childlike voice the author chose to convey her differences It is that what threw me off at first all together and had me question if I can read a whole book in this way, but it grew on me I should mention perhaps that there are a lot of curse words throughout that in connectivity with the childlike language was odd or krass at times, though they became almost an endearing part of it all in the end When it comes down to it, Zelda s character is an amazing choice to portray a clear heart devoid of prejudice and full of perseverance Whereas Gert s struggles show the grasp in complexity that makes life challenging and caring for her so difficult, the lack of a strong adult in their lives is clearly obvious A very unique book unlike anything I have read before, but one that deserves to be tackled and read I could see this as a contemporary summer reading assignment for older high school students as well I m curious about what else this author might write in the future Till then, put this on your tbr Happy Reading More of my reviews here Through Novel Time Distance

  • Hardcover
  • 336 pages
  • When We Were Vikings
  • Andrew David MacDonald
  • 15 March 2017

About the Author: Andrew David MacDonald

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the When We Were Vikings book, this is one of the most wanted Andrew David MacDonald author readers around the world.


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