sea wife by amity gaige
literary FICTION, 288 PP
I tried hard not to let my personal connection to author Amity Gaige skew my opinion while I read Sea Wife. She was one of my writing course professors and the leader of my first writers’ retreat two years ago. I say with confidence and without hesitation, I loved this story for the poetic writing and personal connection Amity makes between the reader and the main character, Juliet. Readers who have lived through the self-questioning days of early motherhood and complicated by their own childhood experiences will find themselves standing in Juliet’s shoes – or sitting in her closet. Sea Wife presents an intimate look at a marriage heading toward drowning in a sea of regrets while the young Partlow family sails around Central America. While I felt undertones of Kate Chopin’s classic The Awakening, written over 100 years ago, about a woman’s tragic struggle with self-definition, I appreciated the more modern resolution Juliet finds as she faces and battles her fears. Amity also engages the reader through a unique dual narrative approach, interchanging first person POV from Juliet telling her story with entries from the voyage log book of Juliet’s husband, Michael, who using the log as much as a diary as a nautical recount of their trip. The juxtaposition, including different fonts, provides a rapid pace to move through the story. I marked many passages throughout the book which to me are more poetry than prose – a true testament to an author who can write both: She is like a fallen scrap of sky. We’re just a hyphen between our parents and our kids. The night deepened, dark as a well, and time fell into it. And, this gem: A mother is a house. A mother is a house with everyone safe in bed.
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