Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Review: The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

In One Line: Minimalist snapshots of a troubled young teen.
Genre: Poetry in motion
The Gist:
Kasienka has moved from relative normality in Poland to a bedsit in Coventry as her mother attempts to track down her estranged father. Life is hard and Kasienka struggles to fit in, finding her only solace at the local swimming pool and the boy who hangs out there. 
The Cover:
It’s by Oliver Jeffers! It’s by Oliver Jeffers!!! This therefore means that the cover can do no wrong. At all ever. Unless it’s the hardback cover for John Boyne’s Noah Barleywater book, which was a tad too brown for my taste. Oliver Jeffers is an illustrator extraordinaire, and I adore his picture books. My only wish was that the cover could be a tad more adventurous. 
Why You’ll Love This Book:
  • It’s written entirely in poems! And so beautifully.
  • Kasienka is such a stunning, vivid and alive character that reading this novel feels like reading the diary of a real person.
  • It makes you want to reach out and make someone happy; life affirming without being saccharine. 
  • The romance plot is subtle, which works, because if Kasienka got completely obsessed with the boy and the book just became about that, it wouldn’t work. The underlying theme of this book is Being Yourself, and just as importantly, Believing in Yourself. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • It took me just over two hours to read. Does that even qualify as a book? For some this will be frustratingly short.
  • As subtle and carefully drawn as the romance plot was, it wasn’t very believable for me. William is just a bit too distant and out of reach - I can’t picture him, and I certainly can’t picture him being a swim-geek.
  • I think the biggest problem with this novel is that the style makes it so personal to Kasienka, that the other characters become very distant. You become so engrossed and involved with her thoughts and feelings, that everyone else isn’t quite real - they’re more like vague, blurry characters than fully formed ones. This is especially true for William and Kasienka’s father. 
  • It’s written entirely in poems! Some of you just won’t get this. And that’s ok. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
No chance to test it against my sleepy brain - I had read it far too quickly!!!
Final Verdict:
A thought provoking and beautiful read, but frustrating too because I Just Wanted More. 
Further Reading:
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Crank by Ellen Hopkins

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