Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Surfacing by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Two disclaimers.

1) I really wish I had put this book down and simply thrown it in the 'Unreadable' category.

2) A lot of this book involved the swim team and swim meets and blah blah blah. I have no firsthand experience with it, but it doesn't seem like the author does either. If that's what drew you to this book, I suggest setting it down and just walking away.

An amazon summary, "A lyrical and deeply moving portrait of grief, blame, and forgiveness, and of finding the courage to confront your ghosts — one truth at a time.

As soon as she was under, Maggie heard the quiet, though every sound was amplified in her ears and in her brain...Sound, like shame, travels four times faster under the water. Though only a sophomore, Maggie Paris is a star on the varsity swim team, but she also has an uncanny, almost magical ability to draw out people’s deepest truths, even when they don’t intend to share them. It’s reached a point where most of her classmates, all but her steadfast best friend, now avoid her, and she’s taken to giving herself away every chance she gets to an unavailable — and ungrateful — popular boy from the wrestling team, just to prove she still exists. Even Maggie’s parents, who are busy avoiding each other and the secret deep at the heart of their devastated family, seem wary of her. Is there such a thing as too much truth?" AMAZON LINK OF WHIMSICAL EMO NOISES

This is all spoiler land as I simply CANNOT be bothered to limit myself to the first third of the book. The book was less than 200 pages by the way; which is why it was easy to finish and not just unreadable.

So this is one of the ADHD books I've come across in a long time. The main girl Maggie (I was never under the impression that she was the STAR of the varsity team, just a really good swimmer) is just dumb. She flashes back and forth from the day her sister died to her present life, but it's really challenging to figure out how much time has passed in between the present moments.

Maggie also believes that she has the ability to draw out deep truths or secrets from people, but it doesn't seem that way to me. It seems like the entire student body compulsively tells her very vivid details about themselves so she might remember them, or as a way to connect to her. To me, it doesn't seem like anything people compulsively reveal is anything horrific or something they wouldn't tell anybody when asked; they all just seem to compulsively give her their spiel, see that it has no affect on her, and move on. It's kind of boring actually.

Then there's Maggie's 'crush' on a kid named Matt who her best friend Julie keeps warning her that he's a first grade crap of a person. Maggie is like, "WHATEVER, IF I JUST SLEEP WITH HIM MAYBE HE'LL NOTICE AND LIKE ME. URGH." ....but much less enthusiastic. Maggie seems to lack any sort of emotional connection to anything that she does. For example, Matt and her 'get together' about three times before he leaves for college and each time they try to have sex but he never quite makes it and ends up just rubbing on her to orgasm and then leaving. It's very disturbing. Maggie just lets him do it and makes plans to lose her virginity before he returns for Thanksgiving break because then maybe they'll have sex and he'll fall in love.

...um, what? Please tell me this is just one person being delusional and not something that people do. PLEASE TELL ME SHE'S THE ONLY ONE THAT RAGES THIS MUCH DUMB. ACK.

So Maggie then sets off on a quest to attain a boy and just to have sex to lose her hymen. (Again, WHAT?) She has a brief moment of being like, "Oh, my health class notes from 8th grade; it's a good thing I didn't pay attention in class and just wrote everything down." Then she figures out her 'safe' time (rather than using contraception's, I KNOW, SHE'S HEINOUSLY IRRESPONSIBLE) and proceeds to stalk this guy Nathan a little bit before she happens to run into him, invites him over, and tries to awkwardly grope him into sexing her.

Nathan is all, "Whoa whoa, slow down killer, I care about you before your naked body," and she's all "WHAT? EMOTIONS? CRAP. I DON'T DO THAT. AT ALL." So they have a romance kind of and then something happens where Nathan responds to Maggie being all, "You don't sell a good thing twice" and she's all "OMG BUT I'M SO GLAD YOU AREEEEEE TEEHEE" and then they're together and they sleep together because TWU WUV and then Matt comes back from break and is like, "Yo," and Maggie throws herself at him and they sex in his truck by an outlet mall. Yeah. Also, none of the sex scenes are described, they're just weirdly hinted at or alluded to.

So Maggie tells Nathan about Matt and Nathan is like WHOA, NOT SELLING MYSELF A THIRD TIME, WHY DID YOU TELL ME THIS and Maggie is like I DON'T KNOW WAHHHHH and Nathan peaces out.

In the meantime, Maggie's parents declare they're getting a divorce, Maggie loses her 'truth mojo' (maybe it corresponds to her losing her virginity (if that's the case, what message is being here?)) and Julie continues to be a good friend.

OH, so Maggie's sister Leah died when Maggie was 5 years old and it haunts Maggie a lot and she flashes back to it all the time. The creepy part is some of the narration starts happening from Leah's perspective and then Leah becomes sentient and 'coaches' Maggie on her current life even though sentient Leah acknowledges Maggie can't hear her.

Book ends.


Yeah, um, this should have definitely been an unreadable book. I'm not even going to discuss the swim team aspects because none of it makes sense to me. Enjoy.

Happy reading!

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