Title: White Rabbit, Red Wolf
Author: Tom Pollock
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: May 3rd 2018
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
White Rabbit, Red Wolf follows Peter Blankman, a maths prodigy dealing with a severe anxiety disorder who ends up tangled within lies and conspiracies after an attempted assassination attempt on his scientist mother. This is an immensely entertaining read, full of twists and turns that have you questioning who can be trusted and who can’t.
I am a big supporter of books about characters with mental health disorders done well, and this is definitely one of them. Throughout the book, there is a focus on Peter’s coping mechanisms that help him cope with day to day life – ways of coping that are healthy and beneficial in the long run – as well as showing him overcoming what he perceives to be limitations. And what’s great is that this book isn’t specifically about that – it isn’t about Peter’s mental health and yet it is woven into the story so well that it all fits seamlessly.
There is also the character of Ingrid, who suffers from OCD – in the book, it mostly manifests as an overwhelming need to wash her hands. The interactions between Ingrid and Peter feel important because they are both from the same place, helping each other to overcome what is holding them back and acting as a support network at the worst of times. It is very rare to read a book with multiple characters with mental health conditions.
I also enjoyed Anabel as a character. She’s Peter’s twin and acts as his constant to keep him grounded. She encourages him to do things he may have avoided and overcome his fears, as well as protect him from the dangers of the world. She’s a badass lady, ridiculously strong and a force to be reckoned with.
I don’t want to give too much away about Anabel, Peter or Ingrid as their characters drive the story, but as the story processes, all three have a secret revealed that complete turns everything on its head, and makes you questions who and what they really are.
I have to admit my first impression of White Rabbit, Red Wolf was one of confusion. It is a book that has not a slow build but a convoluted one. It raises a ton of questions almost immediately, definitely keeps you hooked, but it took over half of the book before I could truly say that I understood what was going on.
Pollock’s writing style had a lot to do with this. It is quite dense, with lots of description, mimicking Peter’s very unique way of thinking. It is a benefit and a hindrance, as when you first pick this book up, you might feel overwhelmed. But believe me, it is worth pushing through that as the world you will be immersed in is wonderfully humourous and dark, filling you with question after question.
And as for the ending…well, I had to reread it a few times just to make sure.
White Rabbit, Red Wolf is an intense thriller in a way that I didn’t originally expect, but found myself enjoying entirely. Pollock’s writing can take some getting used to, but it’s worth it for the end result. I would recommend this to someone who enjoys conspiracy theories, enjoys having their expectations to be challenged and wants some genuinely brilliant mental health representation.
Have you read White Rabbit, Red Wolf? What did you think? If you haven’t, has this review made you want to pick the book up or not? Let me know what you think in the comments!