Chasing Light’s Shadow by Brenna Cariker – An Illuminating Debut
Uncategorized / May 2, 2020

Life is pretty dark for seventeen-year-old Eloise Wylde. Her alcoholic dad is her only family, and she makes a living by helping him cheat during poker games. But when Eloise makes a mistake, things get darker quickly and their mark, Randy, issues an ultimatum: either Eloise counts cards for Randy, or her Dad dies. From the first page, Cariker proves herself a master of imagery. The opening scene in Randy’s apartment is truly grim, gritty and depressing. Eloise and her dad are barely scraping by, and there isn’t much light or happiness in their lives. The scene created a very visceral avoidance reaction in me: I didn’t want to be there, and all I could think was, “God. What a horrible existence.” The role reversal in Eloise’s relationship with her father is also starkly apparent, and Cariker illustrates it quite poignantly in several places throughout the story. As she is running from Randy, Eloise comes across a mother with her son – the foil to the dynamic in her own relationship with her father – and she thinks: “Maybe I could ask her for help. Maybe she would take me home with her and help me come up with a…