I Am Eller

Sequel to A Winter Song

Fiction - Drama
248 Pages
Reviewed on 09/19/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

I Am Eller is a work of fiction in the women’s fiction, interpersonal drama, and slice-of-life subgenres, and it is the sequel to A Winter Song. The work is best suited to the adult reading audience since it contains some moderate references to sexual assault. Penned by author DeNeece Butler, this book continues the captivating narrative that started in the first one. In this installment, readers are once again drawn into a world filled with excitement and intrigue. One of the central revelations in this story is the identity of Eller, who is a clone of her mother. The story delves into the circumstances and reasons behind this cloning, adding a layer of complexity to the characters' lives. The novel builds on the events from the first one, reminding readers of the tragedies that Winter, the main character, has faced, including the loss of her parents and the murder of her first husband. Her decision to move to Alaska and her subsequent marriage to Joel Blanchard, who has his own story of loss, provide a rich backdrop for the sequel.

Author DeNeece Butler masterfully weaves together the individual stories of each family member, creating a larger narrative that is both heartwarming and emotionally charged. The book explores themes of love, family, and resilience in the face of adversity and does so with deeply relatable dialogue and character development that brings the story home to a realistic place. The clever pacing and plot twists make it a story that keeps you hooked, eager to uncover the next life-changing event in the characters' journeys and discover how their paths intertwine. Overall, I Am Eller is a compelling continuation of the narrative set in motion by A Winter Song, and it offers readers a satisfying and emotional journey through unique perspectives. I would not hesitate to recommend it to readers of the first books and to fans of interpersonal drama, family sagas, and women’s fiction everywhere for its emotional depth and complexity.

Pikasho Deka

I Am Eller is the sequel to DeNeece Butler's slice-of-life drama novel A Winter Song. The story is set in the not-too-distant future and follows the Lassiter/Blanchard family members as the younger generation grows up to assume the mantle. At the age of sixteen, Winter's daughter, Eller, and her transgender friend, Ronnie, are brutally attacked and sexually assaulted by three young men. Taking her time to get over the traumatic experience, Eller learns of how she came to be and grows up to speak on behalf of transgender people and clones like herself. Meanwhile, her half-brother Tim ends up marrying a man while a devastating volcano erupts in China, changing the socio-economic and geopolitical climate of the world. Additionally, trouble hits the family when someone kidnaps Winter, forcing Joel to seek help from old friends.

I Am Eller is soaked in family drama and intrigue, showcasing a time that feels like a true reflection of what the future is going to look like based on the current trajectory of the world. Author DeNeece Butler integrates a lot of prevailing social issues into the narrative, bringing an added sense of realism to the story. One of the main characters' views on Critical Race Theory was particularly interesting to me. All the main characters have likable personalities and well-defined story arcs to leave readers satisfied at the end. I really liked Eller's friendship with Ronnie and her close relationship with her mother. Butler paces the plot well, and it makes for an easy and relaxing read. If you enjoy slice-of-life stories featuring large families, this book will be right up your alley.

Frank Mutuma

Allen had already located those responsible, and Joel, Winter's husband, wanted to take matters into his own hands and avenge the heinous act that had been done to his daughter and her friend Ronnie. According to the old ways, if he fails to do something, he will be seen as weak. But Winter successfully convinces him to let the American justice system take its course. Joel calls others to a meeting and successfully explains to them this cause of action. Eller had moved to Alaska with her mom, and now they were part of Joel's family. Her friend Ronnie has a secret she discovered during the day they were assaulted, but she also has her own. To find out how things unfold, get a copy of I Am Eller by DeNeece Butler.

There are a lot of advancements in the scientific field and numerous changes in social and cultural issues. Many of these issues are explored in I Am Eller by DeNeece Butler. I find the book to be thought-provoking on several issues, such as cloning and sexuality, that I didn't have any information on before reading. First and foremost, I loved the theme of tolerance as emphasized by the author, and the importance of approaching things with an open mind. Butler also used a tone and narrative pace that readers will find very welcoming. The book also captured the emotions and events of different characters vividly, helping to capture the imagination of the reader. The author used easy-to-understand language, making it accessible to all kinds of readers.

Jamie Michele

In I am Eller by DeNeece Butler, Eller and her friend Ronnie endure a traumatic assault In which Ronnie's transgender identity is revealed through horrific genital mutilation. They both keep each other's secrets, with Eller disclosing that she is a clone of her mother, Winter. Meanwhile, the Blanchard family in Alaska navigates new family dynamics and challenges, including homeschooling their children to avoid controversy. When Eller becomes an advocate for clone and transgender rights, her journey takes her to events that educate her on these issues. An international crisis arises from a volcano in China and UFO sightings. The Blanchards also experience great change within the family, before a kidnap and ransom fuelled by revenge heighten the stakes.

I am Eller by DeNeece Butler rolls through its multiple plots at a fast pace, making it a book that can be read in a single sitting. The concept of a teen-turned-young woman, Eller, in this case, who is a clone of her mother, Winter, is unique. This is the sequel to A Winter Song, and while readers who started with book one will have a greater understanding of Eller's family background, this installment reads perfectly well as a standalone. The setting is the not-so-distant future with advances in technology that Butler has a comfortable understanding of and that makes much of the medical and technological breakthroughs feel within the realm of possibility. I really liked the alternating points of view where we are able to see what is happening from both Eller's and Winter's perspectives. Overall, I think Butler has developed strong characters that will grow even stronger as the series continues.

Jennie More

I Am Eller by DeNeece Butler is the story of Winter and Joel, who are husband and wife and their blended family who live together in Alaska. The story starts off dark and somber with an incident of rape and progresses to becoming a story of justice, family unity, and love and how this prevails and permeates all areas of this family’s life. Butler sets the story in the 21st century, dealing with current social issues of sexual abuse, homosexuality, transgender identity, racism, and economic issues of the time while peeking into the future, about ten to fifteen years ahead, and looks at the transformation of these issues and possibilities for solutions. Cloning features prominently, as well as the evolution of artificial intelligence and what this could mean for future generations. There is also an element of retaining history and the beauty and hope that comes with that.

I Am Eller: Sequel to A Winter Song by DeNeece Butler is a well-written and imaginative story. Butler depicts a blended family situation indicative of our times and paints an ideal picture where family values, communication, and love amongst all members are strongly present and encouraged. As the matriarch, Winter plays an influential role in the lives of her children, husband, community, and business partnerships. Butler has thus created a strong female character who is relied upon by all family members for her strength and resilience. Butler explores bold stances on serious issues facing society worldwide. This is a contemporary book with interesting perspectives on various topics of our times.