Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley

This is a coming of age story about of a group of damaged teens growing up in a small town. They are carrying way too much emotional baggage. The truth of course, is they aren't unusual in the least. It's just that we don't generally acknowledge them. And yet here they are in their own novel.

Lillian, Olivia's mother, committed suicide a few days after her birth. Olivia is trapped in the shadow of her mother's life. Her father can't bear to spend time with her because she looks so much like her mother. Her grandmother has began calling her by her mother's name. People don't really see Olivia. They see Lillian and wonder if Olivia will repeat her mother's actions. Olivia isn't even sure where her mother ends and she begins.

Jamie lives next door to Olivia. They are as close as brothers and sisters could ever be. Jamie's father is an abusive alcoholic who beats his mother in drunken rages.

Max, who has his own drinking problem, is Olivia's on-again off-again boyfriend.

Maggie, Olivia's best girlfriend, is a gifted artist whose mother is a drug addict.

One evening, while Olivia is at Jamie's house for supper, his father comes home from work unexpectedly. He explodes in anger and Jamie, trying to protect Olivia and his mother, unintentionally kills him.

The four teens flee their small town and head off to New Orleans. Once there they end up staying with unscrupulous friends of Maggie's mother. Olivia manages to connect with Beth Hunter, one of her mother's best friends who has continued to place letters on Lillian's grave. Beth provides funds for Jamie and Olivia to get false passports and escape.

This beautifully written novel is loaded with authenticity. I wept buckets even though I halfway anticipated the conclusion.

Drowning is Inevitable
worked for me because I became emotionally invested in these characters. It worked because this book is full of love and forgiveness. It's the love of friends who will do anything for each other. It's the tangled up romantic love of 17-year-olds. It's the dysfunctional, but nonetheless real love parents have for their children. It's about truly seeing each other and loving that person no matter what. It worked for me because there's growth in all of these characters, the teens and the adults, kind of like real life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment