top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Sleeping Giants by Rene Denfeld

I was taken with the main characters of the past storyline here: a young boy at a children's home and his unlikely best friend. When his sister tries to solve the mystery of his death, she and her own unlikely companion unravel secrets and danger.

Almost thirty years ago, Dennis, a young boy from a children's home, washed away in the rough waves of an Oregon beach, and his body was never found.

Now his sister Amanda, a young adult who first learned of Dennis while researching her birth mother, is trying to find out how Dennis escaped the children's home and what happened leading up to her brother's death. She and Larry, a new local friend--a recent widower and a former police officer--begin trying to find out the truth, but they meet with dead ends everywhere they turn.

They believe that Dennis had an unorthodox friendship with a custodian at the boys' home, but can find out little else about Dennis's short life. Disturbing facts begin to emerge regarding the horrifying behavioral modification methods used at the home--and those who enacted them. Amanda and Larry are closer than ever to uncovering the whole, heartbreaking truth.

I loved this premise

At times, particularly in the middle of the story, things felt disjointed to me and jumped around in a way that I found jarring. While I enjoyed the trip to Alaska (I love an Alaska storyline) and the polar bear-focused parts of the story, it felt far afield from the main plot. I didn't suspect that Amanda was coping with cognitive challenges until late in the book when multiple mentions were made regarding this; maybe I simple missed the earlier clues? Things wrap up in quite neat fashion at the close of the story, but I didn't mind because of the justice being served and the mysteries' resolution.

I'm haunted by Denfeld's author's note about the real-life--and recent--use of abusive confinement methods in some therapy.

I mentioned Rene Denfeld's great book The Child Finder in the Greedy Reading List Six Chilly Books to Read in the Heat of Summer.

Side note: I've read and reviewed another book called Sleeping Giants; that one was a science fiction story by Sylvain Neuvel.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Rene Denfeld is also the author of The Enchanted, The Child Finder, and The Butterfly Girl.


bottom of page