Friday, October 20, 2006

Ann Packer, The Dive from Clausen's Pier

Ann Packer, The Dive from Clausen's Pier. This book was about Carrie, a young women who stayed in her hometown of Madison; first for college, and then for a job, to be with her high school sweetheart. She grew discontented and restless, and before that could boil over into a break-up he jumped in a lake and broke his neck. So, does she stay or does she go? That moral dilemma is pretty much the whole book.
I thought Carrie was bizarre - I didn't buy the whole "wants to design clothes" thing - she didn't seem passionate enough. Not to mention the descriptions of clothes were vague and antiquated. I was also dissatisfied with her final decision. And she has this completely unrealistic sojourn in New York City where she lives for months and months off a few hundred dollars. Just details, really, that didn't ring true. But I enjoyed the story, and sympathized with her sometimes; the narrative was great, and I liked her mother, I grew to like the boyfriend, her lover was interesting even if a stereotype. Madison seemed truer (although simplified) than the portrait of New York City. It was as if New York was included more for what it represents as "the big city", as anonymity, as culture, as escape, than for any portrait of the true city. LA or London would have done nearly as well. But it is true that New York occupies a special place in the American myth. So a good read, but faintly dissatisfying.

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