Sunday, 28 July 2013

Left Drowning by Jessica Park @JessicaPark24

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 ugly crying, puffy eyed, nose running inducing stars!!

OMG OMG OMG, I have to write this straight away whilst I am emotionally distraught, I cannot convey how much I cried whilst reading this book…I should really post a picture of the mess of a face I was left with but I wouldn’t want to scare you all away, but I was a total and utter wreck. I am an emotional person anyways and I do cry fairly easily, but this was embarrassing. It wasn’t even as if the event that triggered this total and utter sob fest was “that bad” but I was so pulled into this story emotionally and mentally it felt like my own heart was breaking, no scratch that, it was ripped out, stamped out, stabbed a few times and tossed in the trash. Jessica Park, you killed me…..I am distraught, I have run out of tissues and my husband thinks I am an utter fruit loop, but other than that I am OK, just.

This book pulls you in from the dedication:-

“For Tommy, who is and will always be, my Sabin.

This book is for everyone who has survived. You are not broken. You can love and be loved, depite what may feel like the eternally brutal nature of the world. Even when you’re drowning and so far under, there is always time to reach for someone who will teach you how to breathe again.”


I was not sure what to expect when I started reading this, after reading Flat Out Love and Flat Out Matt I was thinking it would be another one of those quirky books that suits Jessica’s personality to a T, we have seen her wicked sense of humour all over Facebook, she cracks me up daily but this was sooooo different. This book was deep, meaningful, emotional, beautifully written and most of all captivating, I could not put it down.

Blythe, beautiful, brilliant, Blythe, she was still grieving for a lot of things, the loss of her parents four years earlier and also the loss of her relationship with her brother. That tragic night had destroyed everything that Blythe knew, she took herself off to Uni and made sure that she was unnoticeable. She kept herself to herself, did not have a roommate, never socialised, just plodded through the crap that was her life, she felt she was a nothing, no use to anyone, she would drink herself into stupors just to forget, just to try and be something even just for a short while, but it never worked, it was always so much worse in the mornings. She goes for a stroll and happens to chance upon a man at the lake, she stares, she watches, she feels that there is some instant connection to this stranger and she feels pulled. Unlike Blythe in any shape or form she makes a move and talks.

Chris, the said stranger, he too a broken soul, we always knew he was hiding something, but Jessica leaks his past slowly throughout the book and it just adds to the suspense of the story. I did have an inkling as to where the plot twist would come and I was right, but as it was revealed my heart just broke all over again. It is like a car crash, you can see it happening and you just brace yourself for the impact, but when it hits you, you feel the shock and the pain, then you freeze….you pat yourself down, check that you are OK and then sit back and wonder what the hell just happened. Well, Jessica Park just came up and hit you smack between the eyes!!

Some may say that this is a insta love, it is and it isn’t, they both feel the connection immediately, but it is not acted upon for a long time. Blythe too scared to say or do anything and Chris wanting to but feels that he is too broken to offer anything. They become friends, along with the rest of the Shepherd family.

I love this family, this is where Jessica really gets her wicked sense of humour across, Sabin and Estelle were amazeballs. I love it when a book totally engrosses you with all the side characters and every side character in this book had a major part to play. Some may say Sabin was annoying, he was brilliant, the friendship that he and Blythe built was so touching and so needed for both of them, it was beautiful. Estelle, some may say crazy, but what an amazing best friend, even though she was hurting herself, the strength she passed to Blythe was courageous despite battling her own demons. Eric and Zach, such a cute couple, you just loved them. It was such a tight knit family and they all just welcomed Blythe with open arms.

Blythe and Chris ground each other, whilst in the beginning it is Chris that brings Blythe out of her pity party, it soon becomes apparent that Chris needs rescuing from his own and Blythe wants to be the person to do it. The trouble is that Chris, whilst he wants to be rescued, it takes him a long time to realise it, he believes that he cannot be fixed, that he is not worthy and so he does something so incredibly stupid I could have killed him myself…I wanted to jump in the kindle and throttle him.

Throughout this book, you feel the connection building, it is palpable, it pulls you in like a moth to a flame and you cannot move away from the light, you keep reading, you become more emotionally invested, you fall in love with the characters, you fall in love with the story and then bam…you are hit by that light, that ugly zap that tries to kill you outright..and boy did it kill me. I was like, no this cannot be happening, this is not what should be happening and you carry on reading like a sadist thinking FFS, this is not blinking happening…but it does and it carries on and you cannot help but continue.

But alas, do not worry my dear readers, the world does right its axis eventually but not after you have been eaten, chewed, spat out and left for dead…but it is a truly brilliant read. No matter how many the tears I spilled I could read this over and over and over again…yes I am willing to put myself through that again, but it was a joy to read.

This is a story about loss, grief, learning to live again, survival, learning to love and trust and most of all learning to heal and forgive.

This review is testament to Jessica’s writing, it does cover some hard hitting subjects, especially child abuse but it is done sensitively, thoughtfully but most of all it is heart breaking. You feel everything! It is very difficult for an author to make you feel “this much”, only a few books have managed to do this to me and I am always shocked when they do, you always know when that happens you have read a brilliant book, and this book is truly brilliant.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, but make sure you have loads of tissues to hand because if you are like me, you are going to need them.

Oh and Jessica, I want that T-Shirt……You’ve hit 70%....now cry like a b***h!!

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