Sunday, January 6, 2008

#3: Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

Book: Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
Pages: 291
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Snooty Rating: 3.5/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 3/50
Pages Read Total: 789/15,000

I've never read any of Shreve's other books, though I've heard her name tossed around before. I picked this one up last night because I was a bit wound up before bed, and Children of Dune just wasn't doing it for me at the time. I started it around 11:30pm, and I didn't go to sleep until I had finished it around 3:15am. I'm not sure what kept me reading. I have to say that there was more to this book than I expected. Nothing really profound happens, Sydney is a woman with one divorce and a recently deceased second husband, adrift and trying to find some sense of self and connection. There are some really lovable characters, and some characters that are meant to be despised.

The narrative is strange, bouncing back from past, to further past, to present, always in the third person. The book seems to be right inside Sydney's mind without actually saying "I", and seems to float in and out of layers of time as thought might. At first I found the constant analysis of characters to be a bit strange, but when I settled into the weird out-of-body narrative it began to make sense, as Sydney, the main character, is a 29 year old woman with an unfinished Masters in adolescent phsychology. The author, who is presumably not Sydney, is still approaching the world as Sydney might.

It's a book about a part of a woman's life. It's about family, falling in love, and the ocean. I would call this a vacation read, but a good one, as the narrative is really quite interesting.

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