Monday, June 22, 2009

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming - Joshilyn Jackson

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is Joshilyn Jackson's third novel. After finishing this one at breakneck speed, I'll be hunting down the first two.

Laurel has escaped her childhood and the family history in poverty stricken DeLop, Alabama. She's married to David, has a daughter Shelby and lives a comfortable life in a gated community. The ghosts have stopped following her. Until one night, when she sees the ghost of a young girl beckoning to her. She looks out the window and there is the dead girl - in her pool.

Although they disagree strongly on many, many things, she calls on her actress sister Thalia to come and help her deal with this. As the sisters 'investigate', the past comes charging up behind them. Secrets long buried won't be kept quiet any longer.

This is an absolute gem of a novel. Jackson's prose are captivating and unsettling at the same time.

"But her house did not feel normal. It was silent and too large around her, as if it had been hollowed out. The wrongness in her yard had it's nose pressed against her glass doors, and she felt something small and feral scrabbling in her belly. Every time she thought she'd lose herself in her work, the something would run one spiky tooth along her stomach lining."

The story is addicting. Can she really see ghosts? Hints of the past are eked out and I was reading as quickly as I could to piece it altogether. It's a mystery, but also a study in families and relationships and how the past affects the present.

In the reading group guide and notes, the author notes that "at it's heart, this book is about poverty". I found this quite interesting. As well as the literal translation of fiscal poverty, emotional poverty plays a key role.

This was a fantastic read for me. You can read an excerpt of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming here.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

I liked this one as well. Have you read Gods in Alabama? I enjoyed that as much if not more! I love Jackson's humor :)

KR said...

I like this book also.

Jo-Jo said...

Thanks for the great review...I haven't read this one yet, but it is on my shelf.

bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was great, too, but it is probably my least favorite of her novels. You must seek out Gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia.

Luanne said...

This was the first book I had read by this author, but I will be searching out her previous two. Sounds like gods in Alabama is a must!

Donna said...

I read this book too and liked it. I have Gods in Alabama and I'm happy to hear it's good as well.

Becca said...

I just won this book and can't wait for the opportunity to read it. I am hoping to get to it this summer.

Anna said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's in my pile, and I can't wait to read it.

Diary of an Eccentric