Creatures, the debut novel from Crissy Van Meter
I was sent this novel to review because of its connection to cannabis. The main character’s father is a black market grower who keeps the tourists in their fictional California island tourist town well supplied with “Winter Wonderland”, his legendary and proprietery strain.
Without a central conflict or plot line, the book provides a quiet yet compelling and sometimes painfully honest contemplation of the main character’s life and of the important yet imperfect relationships and influences that shaped it through the years, and how they evolve, and in some cases don’t.
Even if our experiences and outlooks may differ substantially from hers, the emotions felt are universal.
I loved that Marijuana is just treated like what it should be, an everyday part of life. Van Meter neither glorifies nor vilifies it, and that is OK.
Like many real-life children of long-time black market growers, the main character has a nonchalance about her treatment of the subject most of the time, but every now and then it becomes apparent just how much influence it has had on this family’s lives, for both good and bad.
One of my favorite passages in the book happens when the main character briefly connects with her mother, who has been an absentee parent for most of the now-adult girl’s life. Watch the video above to hear that passage that beautifully describes the closeness that can be felt through the paper thinness of a joint’s rolling paper.
Creatures is a quiet and contemplative book, a tale of families and their struggles. Of poverty, lonliness, alcoholism, abandonment, betrayal, love, joy, and forgiveness, all contrasted against a wild California coastal landscape that deposits the reader at the crossroads of mother nature and human nature.