A Fist Around the Heart - Heather Chisvin

Actual Rating: 3.25 stars


I have delayed this book for sooo long. I just never had the energy to pick it up again once I've put it down. But finally, finally, I've finished it (last year actually before 2018 ended) and I've come with, you called it, a review.


A Fist Around the Heart is about the relationship of two sisters, Anna and Esther, who were forced to migrate to Winnipeg by their mother to escape the chaos in Russia. Since then, they were forced to live with their mother’s employers as their apparent guardians. A lot has happened in both their lives during the years that have passed. One day, after visiting Anna, there was news that Esther killed herself by letting herself get run over by the train that was supposed to be her ride home to Winnipeg.


Throughout the book, it shows the hardships Anna experienced, both living alone in New York and living with her sister, parents, and guardians. It deals with loss, pain, trauma, grief, and mental illness. But there were also parts which showed friendship, family, and support but being independent at the same time.


A Fist Around the Heart was an interesting read for me. The book's pace was just good enough for me and I understood what was going on. I could distinguish which were the flashbacks and the ones in the present day. I liked how some parts were kind of realistic and how I imagined they would be. I also learned some new things about history when I read this book.


I liked how the story was detailed but not too detailed. There were still some questions that were unanswered which was slightly disappointing because there was no complete closure about some things. But all in all, I guess, the end was patched alright. The characters were better than the plot so moving on...


Let's talk about the sisters... I could somehow relate to Anna's grief and I sympathize for her. All throughout the book, I admired her for being such a strong, independent woman. She may not had it easy but she got through. As for Esther, she made me think of how she and her sister have had it rougher compared to my life. She struggled through so much in her life. They both faced lots of challenges but they got through because they had each other. Or at least, Esther did. She was kind of dependent to Anna and that showed how fragile and vulnerable she is. Lucky she had Anna by her side as her support system.


Ugh, this book just makes me want to have a sister even more! The support, love, and concern represented by the two sisters frustrates me because I don't see that with me and my brothers. I hope that someday I could find someone who would consider as a sister to me and me to her.


Trigger warning: mentions of suicide and mental illness


Note: Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of A Fist Around the Heart.