Jane's Reviews > Swallow the Ocean

Swallow the Ocean by Laura M. Flynn
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May 28, 08

Recommended to Jane by: heard Laura Flynn interviewed on MPR
Recommended for: my goodreads pals and anyone who likes reading about people coping with major family dysfunction
Read in May, 2008

Had been hearing about this book, and caught the tail-end of an interview with Laura Flynn on MPR a few weeks ago. Why is it that reading about and/or observing other people's major family dysfunction is always so compelling? This book reminded me, in some ways, of "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls (any of you read that? I'd recommend it, too--and if you're a mother, you'll always feel like a hero afterwards because her mom was the WORST). Similarly, I felt like Mother of the Year when I made sloppy joes for supper tonight after finishing the book--and I also feel much better about the scattered piles of books and papers in my house after reading of the mess Laura and her two sisters lived in as their mother descended ever deeper into her paranoid schizophrenia. This book was also--well, fun isn't quite the right word--but, "fun," because the author is just one year younger than me (and thus, most of you) and she drops great details and quantities of period social/cultural references in her account of her childhood from 1969-77. Left me wondering why one of us hadn't written this! Oh--maybe because our mothers weren't paranoid schizophrenics? Maybe one of you knows Flynn from graduate school or the Cities?? I started out feeling kind of jealous of Flynn, but ended up feeling rather sorry for her and the impact her mother had on her life, even continuing to the present. Makes me think I should sometime start writing about my own family's dysfunction as I grew up--apparently that topic holds endless appeal for readers of all stripes. Well-written.

And would somebody please tell me what Guy's occupation was in Fahrenheit 451 so I can advance in that never-ending book quiz? Thanks for the help!
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message 1: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia Sounds like an interesting book, especially the added ties to our own ages/childhood years. I have heard good things, as it were, about The Glass Castle as well. Several of the women on our spring break trip had read it for their various bookclubs.

And it was a while ago, but wasn't he a fireman?


Jane Thanks for the help, Julia. I think I'll try that!

All my Carleton goodreads friends should know this: I went to my dental cleaning this morning, and when I emerged, the 22-year-old son of one of the hygienists (who has worked at the office helping in the past) entered the lobby. He just graduated from St. Olaf this month, and I was shocked--SHOCKED--to see him wearing a maize-and-blue t-shirt that said, in bold letters, "Carleton Sucks." I read him the riot act, you can believe me!!! The gall!! He said he hadn't thought anyone in Worthington "would even know what Carleton was." Trust me--he knows better now. He'd better tuck that shirt away (if he doesn't rip it up) and plan to only wear it at his St. Olaf reunions. Here for over 20 years I've been trying to think well of the Oles (or at least not be prejudiced against them) and now he has only confirmed what I've always secretly believed: Oles are hypocrites (that whole "love your neighbor as yourself" thing) and sneaky, to boot.


message 3: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia I got a good laugh out of that...I can just see you! It's nice to know that we Carls can take the high road and "think well of the Oles". Or at least, try!


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