Amity Gaige | April 2020 | 288 pp
This was a cover purchase for sure. The books cover is a beautiful island seascape, in deep forest green, blue skies and matching crystal blue waters. When I read this a couple of months ago, I needed a beach vacation and the cover was as close as I would be getting for several weeks. Lets call it preparation.
The Partlows are perhaps a portrait of the great white American family: young college mates, now married with a house, car, 2 kids and a dog. Dad is a corporate professional and seems to support his family. In this case, wife is a defunct housewife after her fledgling writing career stalled during a failed advanced degree attempt. We find them as the couple is breaking. The wife is depressed, detached and the husband is discontented with the state of things around him. His liberties are being threatened and he desires to be alone in the one space he thinks he can escape government intervention and oversight: the sea. Unfortunately, he has to go into debt to achieve this goal but, he figures it will work itself out.
The story of the families journey while at sea is told from the point of view of the wife and by the reading of the husband ships log/journal. It flips between current day, where we learn early on, Dad is dead and things are in shambles, and the time when the family is at sea.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. Initially it seemed crazy, like this shit would never happen. Clearly, husband is having a mid-life crisis either bought on or aggravated by, his wife’s depression, his lackluster career and personal relationships, and changes to his comfortable political-socioeconomic landscape. Whyte rage, stage 1. 😒 Except our good ol’boy feels the vibes and decides to disrupt the status quo. He finds an old gentleman selling a boat and convinces him to invest in the boat with him. The deal is, he has to have the book back to the investor at the end of a year. The problem is, he doesn’t want to return the boat. Whats an oppressed middle aged white man to do? 🙄 Well, steal it. 😑
Pros: Great writing and really a unique story. I thought the writer did a great job of expressing the very different point of views of the husband and wife. And capturing how each of them felt about the state of their marriage and the hail mary the were attempting at sea. I was never bored and the story pushed along nicely.
Cons: Admittedly, in the beginning I thought this was impossible but, by the end I thought they were brave and maybe I could be convinced to try the same trip.
Some of the husbands political commentary could be a bit of a trigger. I got the impression the writer wanted him balanced, equally hating both sides and all things that disrupts his perceived liberties. I think this was mostly achieved. The husbands angst isn’t an excuse for his behavior but certainly a reasonable idea of what a person in his position could be experiencing. Overall, great book and a different type of read for me. Enjoy! Good book 14/2021