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The One True Ocean

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  19 reviews
There are two oceans, mom used to tell me. There is one that is blue-a clean, bright Disney World blue, which simply is the mirror of a clear sky above. But look at the ocean on a cloudy day, she would say, and here lies the green ocean-the true ocean, full of algae and kelp and slimy creatures, evil lurking in the shadows.

The One True Ocean is a searing "what happened?" n
Paperback, 351 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  113 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Dale Harcombe
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
The story of three woman, Jenna, her mother Renee and Renee’s sister Adeline. Jenna also has a much younger sister Elisabeth, although she doesn’t have a great part to play. This is a book of loss, grief, death, relationships and secrets, told largely from Jenna’s point of view with some short chapters telling Renee’s story. I liked the setting of Maine but wasn’t overly enamoured by any of the characters. I struggled with the concept of such a harsh and cold relationship between mother and daug ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a book I just picked up at the airport and I was very pleasantly surprised. I liked how she told the story from different characters' perspective. ...more
Susan Morabit
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
A little slow to start but what a finish! Good quick read!
Jennifer Martin
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and smooth work of fiction. I felt I was peeling back the layers of an onion, getting to know the characters. I would like to see more work from Ms. Martin.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This was beautifully written – almost lyrical. It has well drawn characters, with tangible, believable emotions. The story centres on Jenna & her mother, Renee.

The first chapter of each section is told from Renee’s point of view, in her voice, sometimes in the present and sometimes in the past. The rest of the chapters in the section are in Jenna’s voice, mostly in the present, but sometimes in the past.

It is lovely the way the book gives bits and pieces and allows the reader to piece things to
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
An eloquent debut!
Mar 08, 2014 added it
Awesome book!
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I look forward to her next book
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer W
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pretty good for a first book. Looking back I would say it could have used some tighter editing, but I frequently picked this book up, read for a short time and found 20 pages had just melted away, so at no time was this book a "slog." I think the part I had the most trouble believing was the personality change that Adeline went through from teenager to adult. She was like 2 different people. I also don't know that I believe that person (either in teenage form or adult) would have killed herself. ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I would have given it almost four. It is bout three women, basically, one who has passed by suicide but is in flashbacks, a current young woman who has lost her husband and does not know who her father is, and the young woman's mother. It is about them all coming together after many years of misunderstanding. ...more
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
This book took some time for me to get into it. It repeated alot of stuff through out and honestly got boring.
The ending of the book was much better than anticipated. The book was about a young woman who goes back to Maine where she grew up as a child. She has flashbacks of different areas of her life that she is having a hard time getting past.
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
terrible- she tried to make it clever by telling the story from different points of view, but didn't do this very skillfully so you didn't know what was going on until the end. but not in an exciting, page turning way, but in a weary "what is she talking about?" way... ...more
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
I suppose you could call this a mystery in as much as it slowly unravels the circumstances surrounding a death. But it was more than that.

Although this book seemed a bit contrived at times, it had a lot of heart. The author was terrific at writing description, but fumbled a little with dialog.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was OK. I liked the mom's story better than Jenna's. ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Liked the book. Lots of death, lots! The second half of the book was so much better than the first. Easy read, enjoyed the story from two different characters.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
was an okay read kinda confusing to start. I hate that it bounced around time so much an I wish the bilogical father wouldn't of been dead ...more
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Meh, not that great. It tried too hard.
Mar 02, 2009 added it
Shelves: don-t-read
I hear there is too much death in this book for me. no thanks
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Jun 09, 2014
Annie Duryea
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Aug 11, 2008
rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2018
rated it it was ok
Mar 18, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2011
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Feb 10, 2013
Tanya Benner
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May 31, 2019
Pam from Maine
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Feb 02, 2014
Melissa Leder
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Apr 20, 2014
Mary Pierce
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Feb 28, 2011
Heather K.
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Mar 14, 2012
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Sarah Beth Martin grew up in Massachusetts, among creative parents and siblings. Her fiction and essays have appeared in literary journals and magazines, and her novel, The One True Ocean, was published in both the U.S. and Germany. She also established the journal Foliage, for which she worked as both editor and publisher. She lives in Southern Maine, where she is at work on another novel.

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