Meh. The mother finds a friend of her daughter floating in the pool. Whodoneit?
The answer to this question is really a subplot to the book, which is more about family secrets and escaping your past.
Some of the characters in the book annoyed me to no end. The aunt, the mom, the poor family, etc. The ending was ridiculous to a major degree. When someone turns homicidal for a reason that makes little sense, it sucks the fun out of a book, for sure.
Off to read something better!
This was a hard book to put down. Yes, it's a "mystery", but I would call this more of a "literary mystery." It has many elements of literary fiction with a fantastic mystery at its heart. A little bit of mysticism, a love story, a story about how the people we love build us up or let us down. This book just has so many interesting layers without being cofusing or jumbled. I highly recommend this book!
For me, this book was one of Jackson's better efforts. It started slowly for the first fifty pages, but once the story framework was set up, I could not put it down. This is one of the more fulfilling stories Jackson has told. The characters are full, quirky and she makes us understand where each of them: Laurel, Thalia, David, and Laurel's mother, end up where they do in life and how that effects Laurel. The town of Delop could be one of several in Alabama and it's description is chillingly realistic. For me... I'm going to stick my neck out and see this is her best book yet.
Reading The Girl Who Stopped Swimming was akin to drinking a tall glass of Sweet Ice Tea on the porch of an antebellum mansion. A uniquely Southern experience that is both warm and inviting, but also wholly unfamiliar (at least to this non-Southerner). In the end, however, I wanted to visit a little longer with sisters Laurel and Thalia.
Jackson's prose at times seems like another language. For example, the novel frequently referred to characters entering or exiting the keeping room. While I now know that my house has one too I had never heard this term before reading this novel. Rather than detracting from the novel these unfamiliar terms drew me in deeper in the way that one listens closer to a speaker who whispers rather than shouts.
Jackson's characters were, for the most part, vividly depicted and leaped off the page. This was especially true of the characters Laurel and Thalia whose relationship propels many of the plot points. While Laurel and Thalia love and support each other, they do not understand many of the choices the other as made. As Thalia mutters, "Some days I wonder how you don't drive hard into a wall, just to make it stop."
Another aspect that I enjoyed were the references to the character Cowslip from the novel Watership Down. While I have not read Watership Down, it is now on my reading list thanks to Jackson. If you are in a book group I would recommend reading the two novels together for an interesting discussion.
The only part of the novel that I found less than fulfilling was the ending. I won't give away any spoilers, but I will say that it seemed too tidy of an ending. I would have preferred a more Thalia envisioned ending -- messy, yet, engaging. However, a lot of readers will probably enjoy the ending.
Overall, I highly enjoyed the The Girl Who Stopped Swimming and would recommend it for a thought provoking summer read.
Okay, first let me say that Audible.com does not have this book yet and it's making me crazy. I even checked and they don't have any of the other authors books on their site anymore. I don't really listen to CDs, so this is driving me nuts! I always listen to her books while I'm walking. *grump*
Okay... I'll stop ranting now...
This is not my favorite book by this author. The story was good, but I felt like it was missing some of the more crazy characters that Jackson is known for. It is definitely worth a read, don't get me wrong - but I just kept waiting for the nutball characters to show up. They were all a little crazy, but there wasn't those one or two that were just completely nuts, ya know?
This definitely was pretty deep and I honestly didn't see the little twist at the end coming. My favorite book by this author was Between, Georgia and my favorite audiobook was Gods In Alabama. This book comes in 3rd. I wouldn't know about the audiobook since audible DOESN'T HAVE IT YET. Not that I'm bitter.
But... read it. It's still good, it was just different from what I was expecting :)