Summary: On the night their mother drowns, sisters Marnie and Diana Maitland discover there is more than one kind of death. There is the death of innocence, of love, and of hope. Each sister harbors a secret about that night-secrets that will erode their lives as they grow into adulthood.
After ten years of silence between the sisters, Marnie is called back to the South Carolina Lowcountry by Diana's ex-husband, Quinn. His young son has returned from a sailing trip with his emotionally unstable mother, and he is refusing to speak. In order to help the traumatized boy, Marnie must reopen old wounds and bring the darkest memories of their past to the surface. And she must confront Diana, before they all go under. -- Penguin Group USA
When I read the book synopsis for THE MEMORY OF WATER by Karen White, I thought it looked like a book that I would enjoy. I tend to like stories about sisters, and this book seemed to have lots of hidden secrets and complex issues between them. While this book wasn't my favorite book that I've read this year, it still was a good read and I enjoyed the story.
All of the main characters in this book were heavily flawed. Each one of them was tramatized by a horrific accident that occurred when they were children. As a result, I found this book to be very dark and depressing; and I kept hoping that the characters could find some sort of peace by the end of the book. I liked that the story was told through first person viewpoints by each of the four main characters, especially since Gil -- the 9 year old child -- wasn't able to speak throughout most of the book. I felt like I got to understand the characters this way, since I couldn't really relate to them or any of their life experiences.
I have to say that I found the first three-quarters of the book to be written at one pace, and the final quarter of the book seemed to be another. I understand that as the story moved forward and the events were building up to the conclusion that the pace should move faster, but I felt like the ending was maybe a little too rushed (or the beginning was a little too slow.) There were some interesting plot twists towards the end of the novel, but I saw some of the surprises coming from about half-way through the book. Having said this, I still liked the book and was definitely caught up in the story.
Ms. White has written many other books; however, THE MEMORY OF WATER is the first book by her that I've read. I thought the book was easy to read, and there were lots of beautiful descriptions of the South Carolina Lowcountry. I liked how she incorporated some mystery aspects into this family saga -- it definitely kept my interest in the story. I wouldn't hesitate to give another one of her books a try after reading this one.
I think THE MEMORY OF WATER would make an interesting book club discussion book, especially if your group is interested in family dynamics and mental illness. There are quite a few topics to discuss and lots of symbolism throughout the book. The book even contains a "conversation guide" (love that term!) which includes an interesting interview with the author as well as some discussion questions. If you are considering selecting this book for your book club or just interested in reading it, there is an excerpt here.
I have a spare copy of THE MEMORY OF WATER to share with one lucky reader. Please leave a comment on this post (with your e-mail address) if you are interested. Want to double your chances -- blog about this giveway with a link back to this post. I will keep this contest open until 11:59 p.m. on June 30th, and I will announce the winner on July 1st. This contest is open to US and Canada citizens only -- sorry!
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