Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Dive From Clausen's Pier

"The Dive from Clausen's Pier" by Ann Packer is one of those novels that hooks you from the first word. You do not want to put it down and when you are made to do so by the responsibilities of life, you think of it until you can pick it up again.

The book chronicles the emotional evolution of Carrie Bell, a 23-year-old college graduate whose life since birth has revolved around the same town, the same best friend, the same group of friends, and the same boyfriend (now fiance), Mike. Carrie's feelings for Mike have drained away and yet, they drift along on the same path they've always been on.

On Memorial Day, Mike and Carrie make their annual trip to Clausen's Reservoir with all their friends. It is here that the direction of everyone's life will change. Mike dives off the pier into low-level water and breaks his neck rendering him a quadriplegic and rendering Carrie confused over her choices, confused over the question of how much we owe those we love.

The demons Carrie wrestles with and the questions she longs to find answers to are many of the same ones we've all encountered in our own lives in varying ways. This is an astonishing novel that will stay with you long after you finish the last page because you will see yourself and your own struggles in one or many of the characters presented. It leaves you asking questions about what you would have done in the same situation, what circumstances would cause you to choose one path over another. What do we do when the right thing seems so wrong for us?

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