4.09.2013

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara

I had things I didn't want,
and then I lost them.


Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara
Publishing Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
# of pages: 342
Genre: Contemporary

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Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

First of all, trigger warning for depression so if you're sensitive to that subject, I'd avoid this book.

This is the first book I've read in months in less than 5 sittings. Read it in three sittings. The writing is some of the most lovely I've ever read. McNamara has an MFA in poetry and when you read, well when I read at least, you can pick up that sort of poetry influence in the writing. There's a very vivid and solid rhythm that's established right away. Take this passage for example

"I came here because it's pine-dark and the ocean's wild. The kind of quiet-noise you need when there's too much going on in your head. Like the water and the woods are doing all the feeling, and I can hang out, quiet as a headstone, in a between place that could swallow me if I need it to."

 There's so much imagery going on there, just in that one passage. I felt a lot when reading it and McNamara does well imitating emotion through scenery and words.

Based on my knowledge and some experience, I do think that she handled the topic of depression well. What Wren is feeling, that struggle to just get through a day and that overwhelming feeling of needing to get away, makes sense and felt very similar to me. I actually rather liked her as a protagonist though.

Man, I'm trying so hard to get, like, articulate words on this page but I'm finding very hard to translate my feelings about this book, both good and meh. Because if I were to sum up this book, it would be, "it was good, but also meh" but it's explaining why that's challenging to me right now.

Best I can do is, Wren is a good protagonist. She has her struggles, her good introspective thoughts and moments with others and herself, and she has a interesting romance companion. Cal is my favorite character in this book. He is just so sweet and so understanding but what grated on me was how easily jealous they both are. There was good communication in some parts of their lives but when it came to other people, particularly those of the opposite sex, they just shut each other out so easy. Regardless, it is a very sweet romance and I enjoyed very much reading it having rooting for them from the start.

Wren's mom and her "best friend," Meredith, are a pair of bitches. Never had I been so annoyed and felt so furious with two characters. Woman, your daughter is going through some serious shit. She has fallen into a deep depression and you're just shoving out the door, expecting her to act like a normal person. Like what the hell is wrong with you? I understand that she doesn't want to see her daughter hurting anymore and just wants her to be a normal, happy person again but shoving her isn't doing anything at all. Meredith is just... a bitch. I have no idea why there friends, she doesn't care. Just, go away, Meredith.

Wren's dad and Zara are heaven-sent. They totally get Wren needs space and time to just process things before she can become relatively normal. Favorites. Actually, I'm gonna call them my favorites in the book rather than Cal, but he's a close-second.

So, big complaints: some of the characterization is very annoying and brash and just very out of place. Big compliments: the lovely, lovely writing and handling of the sensitive subject based on my knowledge and experience of it. I'm still going through reviews and see others reactions of it to see if this is the general consensus but so far it seems that most people think so as well.

Also, huge plus: Nina LaCour blurbed for it, calling it, "achingly beautiful... a masterful debut" and as we all know, Nina LaCour is a goddess.