Klickitat is quite possibly one of the most unique, strange books that I have read, and that isn’t a bad thing. This book pulled off a story that, while at first I didn’t know if I would enjoy, I ended up applauding how well it was written and how unique the plot itself is.
Vivian and her older sister, Audra, live in a nice suburban family with their parents. The sisters are pretty close, and since Vivian has a type of anxiety that causes her to become “agitated” and need to feel secure and often hold onto something or someone, her sister frequently calms her down and makes her feel better. Taken from their favorite childhood book, Ramona and Beezus, the word Klickitat is one that they often use to remind each other that everything is okay, and they are there for each other always. It helps calm Vivian down during some particularly bad episodes growing up, and it sticks for both of them and becomes an important sentiment between them.
As time goes on, Audra starts acting more and more strange. She spends a lot of time out in the woods walking around barefoot, reading wilderness survival guides, and giving their parents a hard time about their lives, claiming that she doesn’t want to become a “robot” like society wants her to become. She says that Vivian does not need the medications that she takes, and that she would be better off without them. She starts telling Vivian that she is going to be leaving soon, to live out among the woods the way they were meant to live – without the technology and materialism that everyone seems to fall victim to.
So when Audra disappears one night, Vivian is crushed. She misses Audra and can’t believe that she would just leave her behind. However, one night the man that Audra has been seeing and left with comes by to collect Vivian, and takes her to where he and Audra have been staying – outside, under a woman’s porch, away from all the things that they hate and believe are poisoning the way everyone else lives and thinks.
As Vivian leaves her previous life behind and starts spending more and more time with her sister and her boyfriend, she begins to wonder if what they are doing is the right thing.
During her sister’s disappearance and while she is living with Audra and her boyfriend, Vivian finds a notebook that seems to write her mysterious messages, and while they don’t often make sense, they are often chilling (especially some of the messages toward the last chapters of the book.
From the first page to the very haunting conclusion, Klickitat is a book that will shock and surprise you. When I was reading this book, I got to see the world from a new viewpoint – that of a group of people who believed that living without technology and material items is the best kind of life. I found this book to be a treat that I just couldn’t put down until I had finished it.
Vivian and Audra’s relationship is the kind of sisterly bond that you can’t help but love – the two of them together aren’t only sisters, but friends as well. While the girls’ parents seem a bit lacking when it comes to personality, you could tell that they loved their daughters and wanted to find them again.
While Klickitat is a rather quick read, the story comes across clearly and there is plenty of room to enjoy the characters and the plot. It seems to be the perfect length for an enjoyable rainy-day read!