To Be Sung Underwater is one of those books that keeps you reading because it’s written well and has a good story, but that really grabs you after you’re done. Often I finish a book and move on to the next thing, having enjoyed the reading but not feeling much inclined to mull over the themes. This book was an exception, because the more I thought about the themes of love and regret, the more I found to think about.
It’s hard to describe the plot without giving too many spoilers, but it boils down to a story of a woman in her 40s who has everything she thought she wanted, but starts wondering about an old boyfriend and regretting the loss of the life she didn’t choose. Through her reminiscence, we learn the story of her first love, and how she wound up halfway across the country editing TV shows in LA rather than married to a Nebraska construction worker. She keeps thinking of the romance of this youthful love affair, and finally tracks the boy down and goes to see him. It’s a long story, and there is a weird bit at the end. The choice the woman finally makes may surprise you, because it’s not the Hollywood default.
I can’t speak for the author, but in my reading the book seemed to place more value on love that is strong enough to fight for and strong enough for the long haul, rather than love that burns bright but flames out quickly. I wound up having several long conversations with my husband and a good friend about the nature of love as a result of reading this book, and also about the concept of “what might have been” and whether or not it is helpful or productive to dwell on things like that, and whether we think about “what might have been” because we’re really missing the person we used to be when we find that we have changed. I really enjoy books that make me think and give me good conversation fodder, even with people who did not themselves read the book.
For the most part I think the author did a great job of getting the main character’s voice right – the only way you could tell that the author is male is that he had his female main character always describe other female characters in terms of their busts. It wasn’t necessarily in a lascivious fashion, but rather it was the sort of observation that men make about women rather than the sort of observation that women make about other women. I found it funny. That said, I thought the author handled the bedroom type scenes with unusual restraint and the details he did use conveyed bizarreness or moved the story along, rather than being there for cheap filler, which I appreciated.
If you like fiction, I think you’d enjoy this book, and would recommend it to you.
The publisher of To Be Sung Underwater has graciously offered a giveaway copy of the book to one A Spirited Mind reader. If you’d like to enter to win the book, please leave a comment to that effect. You get a bonus entry if you leave a second comment telling us what you think about the contrast of young passionate love versus deeper long-term love. I know that’s sort of a broad topic especially since you haven’t read the book yet, but that’s why you get a bonus entry for an attempt. 🙂
The giveaway will close at 5pm Wednesday September 7, at which time I’ll use a random number generator to select a winner and will post the person’s name that evening. Good luck!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The publisher of this book sent me a complimentary review copy, but I was not asked or required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way for this post.