Over the weekend, I read a short story that sucked me in from the beginning, that felt so strange and yet, believable.
In the story, My Sister is a Wolf Named Helen, the protagonist’s parents get divorced. She stays with her father, while her mother and older sister move away. Not long after, her father marries a woman who has adopted a wolf as “her daughter”.
The protagonist reads books about how to care for pet wolves, none of which provide her with accurate guidance to deal with her new step-sister.
After all, “Helen was not treated like a dog, and her behaviour seemed roughly to correspond with her perceived status in the household”, which is to say, the wolf in the story seemed fine with wearing shoes and clothing.
Yet, there’s still a feral quality to Helen. As the story continues, we see that the protagonist, who is also the story’s narrator, becomes somewhat feral as well. Somehow, the parents don’t seem to care.
As she passes through adolescence, her “eyebrows met in the middle”.
“The hair grew too fast to pluck and so I let it go and let my legs and armpits perform a similar trick,” the story goes.
I was reminded of another book I’d read years ago — Women Who Run with the Wolves — that spoke of the wildness within every woman.
Beneath our smooth skin and soft bodies, we are wild creatures.