Sunday, June 08, 2008

Book Review: The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen

48 Hour Challenge Book 5
Started: Saturday, 11:36 pm
Finished: Sunday, 9:35 am

Book: The Shape of Water
Author: Anne Spollen
Published: 2008

After her mother’s death, Magdalena drifts through her life like a soap bubble, numb to everything. She attempts to feel by setting fires and watches a family of fish bicker inside her own head. Meanwhile, outside, life is moving forward. Will Magda move with it, or be left behind and lost?

I kept reading this novel not because I wanted to find out what happened, but because I couldn’t pull myself out of Magda’s surreal inner life. With grief novels like this, you can usually tell that the protagonist will recover eventually, but I was truly in doubt about Magda’s fate until about three-quarters of the way through. By the end of the novel, however, I started to see the girl that Magda must have been, coming back again in flickers of snarky comments and an awareness of other people. On the last page, things are not sunny and happy by any means, but I have what I didn’t have at the start: the feeling that Magda’s going to make it through.

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