the shape of water

The difficulty with reading the shape of water is that I read it second – so it is hard to write about with out the comparison in my head.

In the shape of water Magda is adjusting to the loss of her mother who has died.  Life is moving on around her – her best friend has switched schools, her father is dating, and something she cannot quite name is happening with her aunt.  Magda is trying to find her place in the world, which she perceives as having been divided by a four lane boulevard, and she lives on the dark side where life is messy, and imperfect, and not forever.


It was hard at first to classify this book, what with the fish in her head talking to her.  There is an element of magical realism, but in truth the reader and Magda are always aware that the fish among other things are happening in her head.  It also becomes fairly apparent that there is a larger metaphor at work, her brain trying to adjust to and work out the truth about her mother’s “accident”.

The woman her father starts dating is frankly some kinds of awful.  I think she is trying, and she may have a good heart, but her denial is a mile wide and deep, and her handling of getting to know Magda is god awful.  And her son?????   Holy bejeezus!  And that is all I have to say about that!

This is a “quiet” book.  Magda is trying to deal with loss and grief in family that has no vocabulary for what that loss is.  Anne Spollen is a beautifully descriptive writer.  Magda’s ability to live in her head gives Spollen an opportunity to exercise that talent.

In a few days I will past a decision between this and Cracked Up to Be.


5 Responses

  1. Oh man, I seriously want to read all of these books!
    i can’t wait to know which one will go through!

  2. […] the shape of water […]

  3. […] Ann judged Cracked Up To Be and The Shape of Water (which had the most interesting cover, in my opinion). Her final choice is […]

  4. […] Ann judged Cracked Up To Be and The Shape of Water.  Doesn’t The Shake of Water have an AWESOME cover?  Her final choice is […]

  5. I think this book seems a little bit depressing. Based on the description it feels like a book about someone’s inner struggle after her parent’s death and really that isn’t exactly a time that is very nice in your life. So really she’s just trying to fit back into the world which really isn’t something worth writing about since nobody really knows how to do that and even when you do, it doesn’t seem like a very interesting climax does it? It’s like: “And then she snapped back into the same melodious rhythm as the rest of the world.” I’m not very excited over this book.

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