[Review] The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf

3 Things About This Book
| Based on the Historical Events Involving the Donner Party | Written in Verse and Prose | Well-Researched and Empathetic |

The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf
Published: 2022 by Candlewick Press
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Book Depository

“Those who lacked the drive to survive are already dead. Those who are left will stop at nothing.”

Unflinchingly harrowing yet simultaneously empathetic and nuanced, The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep retells the historical events involving the Donner Party during a winter they’re entirely unprepared for in 1946-1847. This party involves a huge number of families and solo travelers moving from the Midwest to California in hopes of better prospects. However, they, unfortunately, decided to hinge on the untested shortcut despite conflicting feedback and ended up with many misfortunes—including but not limited to animal, child and adult death; severe wounds, illness and inadequate treatment; starvation, wasting and cannibalism.

What made this book painful to read is how real the characters felt. Despite the use of multiple voices and the mixed verse and prose format (which can mean lesser ‘time’ to properly richen the story), everything came together well to paint a comprehensive, strong picture. The author does a brilliant job of utilising narrative pointillism (that is, the creation of “a story one point at a time. Each point has its own unique perspective. And only by stepping back to consider all the points together will the [story] become complete.”). Though, I must admit that the pacing can be rather slow at some points.

“The body will starve in the absence of food. But the soul will starve in the absence of hope.”

Nevertheless, this book remains a powerful read wherein the resilience and strength of humanity pierce through the pervasive darkness brought upon by the tragedy and despair caused by unfortunate circumstances. If history books were written like this well-researched retelling, I would’ve paid more attention back in high school!

Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf is available at all good bookstores.



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