Brailling for Wile by James Zerndt

Brailling For Wile


BRAILLING: Feeling the surface of a tile while your hand is in the bag in order to draw a blank or other specific letter. This is strictly forbidden. -from SCRABBLE’s Official Glossary

Brailling was something twelve-year-old Mattias Long learned to master during the games of Scrabble he used to play with his mother while they waited for his father, Wile, to close up the family restaurant. But now, one year after his father’s suicide, it’s Mattias who feels cheated. He hates his father. He hates him for leaving Mattias and his sister, Georgie, alone. He hates him for turning his mother into a young widow who hasn’t left the house in months. And he hates his father for leaving behind his stupid tree. Four of them are planted outside the restaurant, one for each family member, his father’s now casting the biggest shadow. That is until Mattias’s mother, no longer able to stand the sight of the tree, hires a local landscaper to remove it in the middle of the night. This seemingly unremarkable act soon sets in motion of series of events in the small Colorado ski town that leaves more than just young Mattias groping in the dark for answers.

Brailling For Wile is a unique novel told from multiple points of view about loss and the lengths some will go to heal the human heart. Ultimately, it is a story about lives being uprooted and what it takes to go on living even when everything in the world might be telling us it isn’t possible to.


Brailling for Wile was an interesting read. I enjoyed the story, but it was not quite what I was expecting. 

I was expecting Scrabble to play more of a role in this book, but it really didn't. In the very beginning Mattias is playing with his mom, but then it doesn't really come up again until the very end. I just thought there would be more to it since it seemed to be a main theme of the story from the title and synopsis. 

This story is told from multiple people's points of view and really shows how everyone was affected by Wile's suicide. The story starts a year after he killed himself so you never really get to know him. Mattias still doesn't quite know how to deal with everything. He has this crazy religious friend who was very strange to read. She was kind of crazy and kind of terrible. She does bad things, but then lies about them and pretends to be all sweet and honest. Not cool. She was an odd one for sure. 

Then there is Georgie, Mattias' sister. She is kind of like a zombie. It was hard to get a good read on her. She sneaks out one night and goes up to the ski lifts and meets a guy there. You get some of the story from the guys point of view and the people he interacts with. You really do get a lot of points of view in this book. It was interesting to read for sure. 

The mom is still trying to deal with her husbands death and some things she finds recently. She goes a little crazy and doesn't always respond in the right way. Really this whole book was like being in a fog. You get bits of story from lots of people in town and Wile's family. It was like everyone is a bit unhappy, but not too bad. It is just an interesting read as it doesn't really feel real, yet it does at the same time. It was odd and I enjoyed it even though it wasn't what I was expecting. Eventually everyone deals with their issues in their way and that is that. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

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