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The Dive From Clausen's Pier

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  16,519 ratings  ·  1,514 reviews
How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or weakness to walk away from someone in need? These questions lie at the heart of Ann Packer’s intimate and emotionally thrilling new novel, which has won its author comparisons with Jane Hamilton and Sue Miller.

At the age of twenty-three Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin, with the same best
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published (first published 2002)
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This book sucks. It had potential - the plot centers around the question of what we owe those we love. The main character is a girl engaged to a man who becomes a paraplegic just after their relationship goes sour. Potential for a good read, right? The problem is that this becomes a novel about a girl trying to become a fashion designer in NY and the paraplegic boyfriend is left in the dust after all of 90 pages. Then it's all about fashion, and BAD fashion at that. The author lost me when she d ...more
Sep 14, 2007 Kelly rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: chicklit
This book sucks. It came highly recommended to me by a friend so I gave it a shot. The Midwest setting appealed to me; I live and grew up in Northeast Wisconsin. The appeal ends there. Sure, I felt bad that the boyfriend became paralyzed. I could only imagine what a position that would put the girlfriend in, how one would become wracked with guilt for wanting to move on and make a better life for herself. To me, her moving to NYC was justifiable and not cold in the least. She had wan
Aug 05, 2008 Katherine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Katherine by: Jenn
Finishing Ann Packer's The Dive From Clausen's Pier is at once an immense relief and an immense loss. The character Kilroy talks about "hard" art (Picasso) and "soft" art (Matisse) and certainly Packer's is the former. The entire book is one long exercise in feeling and memory, in love and in loss.
Packer such a wonderful writer, she actually makes you feel what Carrie, her main character, feels, even after the book has been closed. Of course, that's what the best of books do. Any yet, somehow i
UG! I can't put into words my utter disappointment with the main character Carrie. I actually wanted her to come to life so I could bitch slap her. I don't want to divulge too much for I might ruin the ending for those who want to read it (please don't). The story had merit, the writing was good, but the ending was utterly incomprehensible to me. I actually felt trapped as if the main character were making life decisions for me. I felt doomed to a life without personal growth. rrrgg.
Carrie Bell feels the pull of a new life awaiting her outside her Wisconsin hometown. Her relationship with her fiance Mike is boring her, and she wants to see the world and learn who she is. She goes out with Mike on Memorial Day, and he dives headfirst into a shallow lake and is immediately paralyzed. Can Carrie stay? No. But with pressure from all sides, her mother, Mike's parents, their friends in Madison, Carrie feels terrible about deciding to leave and not return home. Still, she moves to ...more
Way back in the day, I used to read these terrible teen dramas by Lurlene McDaniel. Someone in the book either had cancer, was dying, or was just killed and I sobbed from the beginning of the book to the end. So I stopped reading those books.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier was a grown-up Lurlene McDaniel' novelette. Well written? Yes. Engaging characters? Yes. An enjoyable read? Not quite. I could decide if I sympathized with the main character or hated her. The pivotal event happens so early in th
Feather Stolzenbach
I hated this book with a passion.

From the Publisher
A riveting novel about loyalty and self-knowledge, and the conflict between who we want to be to others and who we must be for ourselves.

Carrie Bell has lived in Wisconsin all her life. She’s had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, the same boyfriend, Mike, now her fiancé, for as long as anyone can remember. It’s with real surprise she finds that, at age twenty-three, her life has begun to feel suffocating. She lo
Nov 28, 2011 Perrine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all women
I don't think that I would have stumbled upon this book had my friend not recommended it to me. It is a rich and utterly human story of loss, coming of age and self-discovery. Carrie, the protagonist, is a 23-year old girl who hasn't yet been allowed to spread her wings. When she is considering making a life change, destiny makes it for her. Her boyfriend (now fiance) of 8 years takes a plunge from Clausen's Pier, breaks his neck and becomes a quadriplegic. He cannot move his hands, has no sexua ...more
i wanted to like this. i started out liking it but by the time i was wrapped up in it, i realized how trite it was. i grew up near madison and kept trying to find connection to the characters and places. i just kept thinking "why would people like her?" and "who the fuck would be friends with these people?" - everyone was a cliche, or not very detailed. no one talks or acts like these people, especially 23-year-olds. i really like the premise of the book - your fiance is in an accident and now a ...more
While this isn't classic literature, I was touched by the book.

Carrie Bell is a 23 year old woman who is questioning whether Mike, her high school boyfriend turned fiancee, is really the man and the life she wants to commit to. Her decision becomes more complicated and conflict laden after Mike is paralyzed in a diving accident. Would she loyally proceed with the plan to eventually marry Mike and become his cook, nurse, helper, chauffeur, attendant and somehow his wife? Or would she be the kind
Aug 12, 2011 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Housewives and Oprah watchers.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book was entertaining in an easy-read kind of way. I definitely wanted to know what Carrie, a 23-year-old girl from Madison, Wisconsin, was going to do when faced with a fiancee who broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. Her guilt is exacerbated by the fact that she had been gradually falling out of love with him in the months prior.

The story felt hackneyed in many parts: the "I couldn't help but wonder" moments; the vague "it wasn't that, nor did I know what it was." Carrie is an annoyi
I picked this one up at a yard sale for 50 cents and I'm glad I didn't pay more. Thoroughly depressing, I wanted to quit many times. The problem? The premise and first chapter contained a good enough hook to make me wonder how in the heck Carrie, the main character, was going to handle the situation the author threw at her.

Carrie and Mike had been dating since high school. Now, 5 or so years later, she's realized that her life in small town Wisconsin is suffocating her and is ready to make a bre
I'm still haunted by this story. It's about a young couple in their early 20s living in the midwest-- Wisconsin (I think). They've been dating since high school. She's about to break up with him, then he has a horrible diving accident while they're picnicing with friends. He becomes a quadraplegic. Up until this point, everyone including both of their parents have assumed they were going to be married because they've dated for so long. She wanted to break it off with him before the accident, now ...more
Michelle Young
Oct 04, 2008 Michelle Young rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michelle by: May
Shelves: fiction
Meghan from my Book Lust class kept talking about how thought-provoking this book was, so when I saw it on the school library shelf, I picked up it during my lunch break. I am compelled to read on!


Wow, I finally finished this last night, and feel satisfied at the ending. I was afraid for awhile that I was going to be disappointed, but it seemed realistic to me and there was even a little surprise.

The story posed a moral quandary, described a believable relationship (actually a variety of
A story that strikes home because the main character does not do what seems to be the right thing. She is confused, sometimes self-centered, yet struggles to keep her integrity in an overwhelming turn of events. Packer perfectly captures her alienation. This one made me think, and made me feel like I had just heard the story of someone I knew.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2013 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: fiction
This was a very good book. It takes place in the Midwest and is about a woman named Carrie who is about 25 years old at the beginning. She is planning to get married to her childhood sweetheart, Mike, whom she has been with 'forever'. But her big secret is...she doesn't really want to marry him. Her feelings towards him have cooled, and she doesn't know how to tell him. He is very much in love with her. One day, when they are hanging out at the pier with their friends, Mike jumps in the lake and ...more
This book surprised me. I initially wrote it off, expecting that it would fall into the Lifetime movie category of contemporary fiction. Ironically, a Google search did inform me that it has had a second life as an honest-to-goodness Lifetime movie (or maybe it was Oxygen; I wasn't paying that close of attention).

For emotion-centric, literary fiction, it was jarringly suspenseful. I almost wanted to hide it under my desk at work, on my lap, to finish it. I felt desperate to figure out how Carrie
Jul 30, 2007 Monday rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: miscellaneous
This book was recommended to me by a friend. She loved it. I hated it.

The plot of this book - and yes, i'll be spoiling it - is that there is this girl who hates her bf, wants to break up with him. He gets hurt showing off for her because he knows she's going to ditch him. She runs away and meets another guy. New guy is somewhat screwed up, but this is where this book divides into a love it or hate it book. She eventually succeeds, while with new guy, but then goes back to home where poor paraly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eveline Chao
Reading this I was really impressed at what an undeniably good writer Ann Packer is, but then I really disliked the book itself. It was just sort of dumb. The protagonist kept having all these realizations and experiences and stuff that all just seemed really obvious and banal to me. It was kind of like reading a book about dogs who had no idea what dogs were & had only just discovered them & was going on and one about how amazing dogs were, & has no idea that everyone knows what a d ...more
Ron Christiansen
Rarely have I cared so much about a character: Carrie Bell is faced with the gut-wrenching decision of staying with her boyfriend, Mike, of 7 years after he has become a quadriplegic. Making matters even more complicated, in the months just before the accident she had begun to fall out of love with Mike. Carrie is emotionally paralyzed with fear of making the wrong decision: "How much do we owe the people we love?...What I had discovered was that I couldn't give up my life for Mike--that how I s ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Definitely the best book I read on my weekend vacation. A young woman (just out of college) is already feeling uncomfortable in her relationship with her high school sweetheart - and then he suffers a serious accident. She's left to decide whether to stay with him or leave. About love and friendship, and about the ties we have to people we grew up with, and breaking out of familiar routines to find something new. The only problem is that several parts left me on the verge of tears, which was awk ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I actually did not enjoy this book, and it definitely leaves a very bitter taste's in the mouth after you finish.

The premise is that our heroine (hyperbole) Carrie Bell wants out of an 8 year relationship with her nearly perfect high school sweet heart Mike. However, Mike, in an attempt to impress her, paralyzes himself for life and leaves Carrie in a difficult position. (spoiler) Running away from the situation, Carrie flees to New York City (from Madison, WI) and begins a new relationship wit
Lori Weir
I have read two of Ann Packer's books this year and can safely call myself an Ann Pakcer fan!

Carrie Bell, 23 and fresh out of college, has the life everyone wants. Or, so you would think. She has a job she loves, a fiancé who clearly adores her, friends and family who love her. To Carrie however, her life has become stifling and dull. She's lost and lonely, with no one to talk to about her feelings and really nowhere to turn for support. Finally, ironically, when her fiancé plunges into a shall
I had trouble choosing what rating to give this book since I don't want to overstate it's worth but at the same time it was such a riveting read that I'd feel I was dishonest giving it only 2 stars. It falls squarely in the chick-lit category, though, and somehow I feel that genre never deserves more than 2. But perhaps that's not fair?

I read this book in 3 days while at home over Christmas and it was just the right combination of moral depth and sensationalism to keep me distracted from the bar
My enjoyment of this books surprised me as it is a book involving deep introspection of a 23 year old woman. By confession, I would have expected to be bored with all the detail and analysis. Nevertheless, this book did more than hold my attention.

The protagonist is a young woman torn between the world she grew up in (Madison, WI) and the world she runs to (New York City). She is torn between two men, each disabled, but in completely different ways.

Along the way, she discovers quite a bit abou
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Eclectic Readers: The Dive From Clausen's Pier 1 8 Apr 25, 2012 01:44PM  
  • Swimming
  • Peripheral Vision
  • The Lucky Ones
  • Breaking Her Fall
  • More Than You Know
  • Mrs. Kimble
  • A Blessed Event
  • Joy School (Katie Nash, #2)
  • The Tapestries
  • The Center of Everything
  • Ash Wednesday
  • The Last Bridge
  • Aloft
  • Burning Marguerite
  • Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
  • Selected Poems
  • The Two Mrs. Grenvilles
  • The Barbarians are Coming
Ann Packer is an American novelist and short story writer, perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed first novel The Dive From Clausen's Pier. She is the recipient of a James Michener Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Packer is the daughter of Stanford University law professor Herbert L. Packer and Nancy Packer, a writer and former professor of English and creative writ ...more
More about Ann Packer...
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“Meaning bad isn't the issue. Meaning you do what you do. Not without consequences for other people, of course, sometimes very grave ones. But it's not very helpful to regard your choices as a series of right or wrong moves. They don't define you as much as you define them” 0 likes
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