THEFT, by BK Loren, offers the reader several things. A good story. I found myself turning pages, frequently surprised by the way things panned out.
The story also offers us an insightful point of view on humanity’s role in the ecosystem. The major characters, each in their own way, give their lives to the land–to something bigger than themselves.
THEFT is a thoughtful narrative. The themes of the book, namely conservation, are controversial in our society, as the conversation often pits the needs of human beings against the needs of other species–such as the wolf. THEFT offers a meaningful contribution to the dialogue by suggesting that this framework might be a false dichotomy. The story suggests that without the wolf (that is to say, without the other species), the land cannot be well. And if the land, meaning the ecosystem, is not well, then neither can we be well.
Above all, the story is about healing. The land, yes. But the brokenness that THEFT explores has a much wider lens. It is as if the broken nations, the broken families, the broken selves that are the subject of this narrative are but a symptom of a larger problem: things are out of balance.
The endangered Mexican grey wolf represents that lack of balance. The protagonist, Willa, is desperately trying to save the species from being hunted to extinction. Willa also tries to save her own mother from Parkinson's disease, she tires to save her estranged brother–and, most importantly, she works to save herself.
The environmental themes of the story are the setting for this larger event: Willa’s attempt to make sense of her traumatic childhood, of her shattered family, of her own need for connection to other human beings. In this sense, the story is resolved not once the fates of those she intended to rescue are settled, but when Willa finally embraces love–represented by Christina. Something, for good reason, she had been afraid of.