Saturday, September 12, 2009

Swimming by Nicola Keegan

Philomena Ash has always known she would be a swimmmer, even at a young age. Ever since her parents brought her to an infant swim class, Pip has spent as much time in the pool as she can. And the hard work and long hours in the water finally pay off when Pip begins attending state meets and training with the best coaches in the country. But winning Olympic gold medals can't fix Pip's life. With a completely dysfunctional family, Pip has been trying to stay afloat in more ways than one. What seems to be a story of success turns out to be a coming of age story as Pip loses and finds herself in this debut novel by Nicola Keegan.

I have been swimming competitively for almost ten years, so reading a book about an Olympic swimmer is right up my alley. Though I am nowhere as good as Pip, I could definitely relate to her love of the water. I originally picked up this book because I wanted to see how the author would approach the topic of swimming. Everything I saw seemed correct, but I actually wish there were more references to swimming. The author probably wanted to make this book accessible to people who have no knowledge of swimming, but I would have liked to see this book be a little more authentic.

As for the book itself, what was interesting was the way the author chose to write the dialogue. When most people write dialogue, they use quotation marks. Instead, Nicola Keegan made all dialogue in italics. For the most part, it was easy to read, but a few times I wondered if I was reading dialogue or the thoughts in Pip's mind. And speaking of dialogue, Pip is the most inarticulate character I have ever read about. It was so annoying watching Pip struggle for the right words. On page 259, there is a perfect example of her eloquence: "We have to think of something else. People are starting...My speeches aren't what...I had a big problem today, Hank...I didn't...I don't know." Imagine reading speech like that! It started driving me crazy.

Anyway, I liked the book until about two thirds through. Near the end Pip runs away to Paris to rediscover herself and the book gets really weird after that. Pip hallucinates and sees people that are dead, and it just became very odd and not exactly relevant to swimming. I really didn't like the end portion because it didn't make any sense. So if you like swimming, I would recommend this book, but otherwise, it's kind of an annoying book.

7 out of 10.

1 comment:

Thao said...

I love swimming. I think I'll like this book. Thanks for the review, Megan : )