Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book Review: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming


I feel a little like I’m not equipped to review this book, like I should read it again and make sure I understand everything.  You know, like I read it, I know what happens, but I’m not sure I’ll pass that quiz tomorrow morning.  ;)

This is one of the books I picked up at the library book sale and added to my Fall Reading Challenge list.  I was excited to read this one because I had heard good things about it and knew the author had other books I’d wanted to read as well.  Then I read the first page…and saw my own darned town right there in black and white!  I kid you not, Pace, Florida, right there on page one, second paragraph, second sentence.  I looked over at dh and said, “We are in this book.”  “Um?”  “I said, we are in this book, Pace is in this book right here.”  And then I read it to him…

He was tethered to the three-bedroom brick ranch where her parents still lived, half an hour away in tiny Pace, Florida.

“Half and hour away?  Do they mean Pensacola?” asks dh.  I quickly read ahead and sure enough, the main character of this story grew up in Pace, where we now live, and lives in Pensacola, where we grew up.  SPOOKY.

I was hoping to see all kinds of references that I’d “get” and could have a secret smile at, and there were a few like the Piggly Wiggly on the state line and a mention of Pace High School and the Pensacola News Journal.  But if the author had really lived here she’d know there is only one Krispy Kreme for goodness sakes.  ;)

All that said, this is a good book.  Well written, believable if somewhat strange characters, and a plot that keeps you reading.  For me it wasn’t an easy read as there are a lot of storylines to keep track of and it gets a little muddled from time to time as we go back and forth between the past and present.  It’s the kind of book you need to put down and ingest for a while before picking it back up.  Even now after I have finished I am thinking back to certain scenes and connecting a few clues.  While it centers on a current mystery it actually unravels lots of old family secrets and stories.

The author did a good job with the characters, although I thought the main character, Laurel, was portrayed a bit ambiguously.  She lives in a fancy gated community and has a Martha Stewart life, but makes “new age art” quilts for a living.  Nah, a person like that would be in downtown Pensacola, near the water in a house with pink shutters and a couch on the porch.  (Believe me, they are there.)  Otherwise I think the characters are well rounded and come to life very easily.  A good book to pick up and dive deep into.  Just don’t forget to swim to the top.  ;)


  1. Here's another review of the same book...

  2. This has been on my TBR list for ages, I really have to get to it. Great review - that's a hoot about your spooky connection to the book! I love it when stuff like that happens.


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