Sunday, 12 February 2012

Book #17 The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

I had previously read and really very much enjoyed Between, Georgia and Gods In Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson. I particularly recommend Gods In Alabama. I loved it. Get it now. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is the third Jackson book I've read and again takes as its setting the dark underbelly of Southern USA life.

Central character Laurel Hawthorne is happily married to husband David. She makes quilts and David is a computer programmer. They have an only child named Shelby, and live in a wealthy, gated community. But Laurel can see ghosts and is often haunted by her Uncle Marty, whose death marks a troubling episode in her childhood. One night another ghost appears, it is neighbourhood child Molly, a friend of Shelby, she has just drowned in Laurel's pool.

And so, the Hawthornes are thrown into crisis and Laurel approaches unpredictable sister Thalia for help.

This book is difficult because Thalia is extremely annoying and Laurel is selfish, and both run around behaving extremely immaturely for two grown women. I feel that Jackson ought to have focused more upon Shelby and her cousin Bet whose story was the more interesting and complex one. Additionally I found the immediate events in the days following the death of Molly a bit unrealistic. Laurel doesn't seem disturbed enough, only thinking of her own; the neighbourhood reaction, including that of Molly's parents is slight.

The end reveal surprised me, but, perhaps I'm in the minority here. I did enjoy the book, though it is far from her best, and I wouldn't recommend it, buy it for someone or read it a second time. 7/10

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