Book #27 – The Memory of Water

by Karen White                book

After several books which just flew by as I read them so quickly, this book took many  days.  I don’t know if it was the subject matter, a dysfunctional family full of tragedy and mental illness, or the style of writing of the author.  This certainly wouldn’t be considered a fun beach read, but I did like much of the story, and two of the characters.

In a nutshell, two sisters raised by a woman with a mental illness reunite at the family home after a lengthy separation.  They loved each other as youngsters, but grew apart and only now that the child of one is in need do they make an effort to reconcile.  The story is set in the always interesting South Carolina Lowcountry and the use of water and sailing as a character in itself is appealing.

The problem I had stems from the way the author wrote the material.  There are four primary characters, Marnie, Diana, Quinn and Gil.  White decided to tell the story from each character’s point of view and in their own voice.  So, rather than start the book and feel a flow from one chapter to the next, every time the story moved it did so by changing the narrator.  I found this to be a distraction.  If you happened to miss the name at the top of the break, you would end up pausing to figure out who was now telling the story, or flip back to see which character was speaking.  I did not like this at all.

Gil, the child, was also unappealing.  I am still not sure how old he was, but he was supposed to be young.  The voice of Gil as narrator read more like an older teen and didn’t jibe with how I would have expected a youngster to talk, think or feel.

Finally, of the four characters I REALLY disliked one and hoped throughout the book that she would just die so everyone else could be happy.  Maybe that was the author’s intent, but frankly when it was her turn to narrate, my dislike of the character meant I read through as quickly as possible because I didn’t care what she had to say.

We do bring our own personal biases into the world of literature.

3/5 Stars


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