Monday, March 20, 2017

What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine

4 stars
Reader's Choice

This story, which I absolutely enjoyed you understand, had a bit of an identity crisis.

Told in first person by a 14-year-old, it felt oh so much like a young YA coming of age novel.

Except that every so often there were 6 or more f-words on a single page.

It was jarring to me, not just because I'd prefer not to have the profanity there at all, but because it didn't feel like it fit the story.

Strip out all the profanity and I'd have handed this book to Boo the second I finished it.

And given it 5 stars.

Also, and I could be wrong here because it was definitively before I was born, but was there really that much throwing around of the f-word in the early 1970s?

Seems like the casual use of "higher caliber" swear words has increased over time... which would lead me to believe that there wasn't so much of it in the 70s as in the 80s and less in the 80s than the 90s etc.

But what do I know?

Well, I know that it didn't feel like it fit, not to me at least, and that jarred me out of the narrative.

All that aside, I found it to be a beautiful, if subtle, treatment of how mental illness affects those "left behind" so to speak.  And specifically how the illness of a parent can affect a child.

Also how trauma can have lasting effects.

Overall, if you can get past the profanity give this one a try.

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