The Girl Who Stopped Swimming - Joshilyn Jackson

Category: FICTION
Publish Date: 5/26/2009
ISBN: 9780446697828
Pages: 336

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.
(My Turn)
This story is a contemporary ghostish tale set in the very Edward Scissorhands-esqe suburb of Victorianna, Florida. From the surreal suburb of Victorianna to the poverty-stricken trailer park town of DeLop, so much of this book feels familiar to me from the stories my mother & grandparents have told me over the years and from growing up in the south I have seen this dichotomy.

The main character Laurel, a quilt maker, is awakened by the ghost of a dead girl in the very first chapter and you immediately want to know what exactly happened. Amazingly the story just keeps twisting. Some of the characters are true works of art and others are just sad little puppets dancing upon the stage.

I wouldn't personally say this is the best book I've ever read, but it was an interesting read.

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