Swallow the Ocean

…by Laura Flynn.

This book is a memoir written by a person who grew up with a mother with paranoid schizophrenia. The author details the years of her and her siblings growing up in the household with a sick mother, of her seeing her father leave and then understanding his point of view, of her maintaining a strong relationship with him even after he separates from her mother, of her eventually moving from her mother’s place to her father’s and finally of the dynamics of her present day relationships with her parents and siblings. In short, her life story.

When I first read the back cover of the book, I knew I wanted to read the story. I wanted to know a child’s perspective of growing up with a parent who was mentally ill. I wanted to learn more about the illness itself and see how it changed / influenced relationships. While the book lived up to my expectations as a whole, there were parts that I didn’t quite enjoy. There were many seemingly unnecessary details here and there, or at least that’s what I felt. And then there were times where I eagerly waited to read more about an occurrence or so, while the author completely drifted off to discuss something else altogether. So, as much as I enjoyed the book as a whole,  there were instances where I was a little disappointed.

The ending of the book is what I liked the most. It’s sad, for sure, and the pain stayed with me for days. Having a mother around, yet finding yourself in a helpless situation when it comes to making her an important part of your life must be hard, I can imagine…and I think that’s what pulled a chord from deep within me.

The writing is fluent, making the book a very easy and engrossing read. The prose is honest, no exaggerations whatsoever, which helps the readers connect with the characters / story and evokes the right emotions at the right time. Some of the details and specifics the author puts forth are sure to leave a mark in the readers’ minds.

Overall, this heart-wrenching tale of patience, survival and love is worth a read.

My rating: 3*.

*for the rating scale, click here.


2 comments on “Swallow the Ocean

  1. Scribby says:

    what a review…will surely make the readers here go for the book…I’m adding it to my to-read list !

  2. Sounds interesting…I don’t really read many memoirs. Or any to be honest. Have read a couple of autobiographies (of cricketers) and one memoir about a person with Asperger’s who didn’t know their diagnosis till 40. I should really try and read some more…especially like these. Nice review T…

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