Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Review: Breathing Underwater

Sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted… I went on vacation.  It was a nice beach vacation so that means loads of time to read J  I’m currently reading Ripple by Mandy Hubbard and Starters by Lissa Price so look for those posts in the future.  For today I have some reviews on Breathing Underwater (Alex Flinn), Looking for Alaska (John Green) and 172 Hours on the Moon (Johan Harstad).

Ok first is Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn.  Truth is this was an impulse buy at Barnes & Noble one night.  It was sitting on the summer reading display table, and I have read Beastly & Bewitching by Flinn, so I decided why not give it a shot.  However, Breathing Underwater is a much more intense read than the other books I’ve read by Flinn.

What it’s About:

Nick Andreas has what appears to be a charmed life, that is until his ex-girlfriend Caitlin gets a restraining order against him and he is required to attend an anger management class.  We see what Nick’s life is like now that his friends no longer talk to him and he is taking the anger management class.  But we also get to see what happened in Nick’s past (from his meeting Caitlin up to her leaving him) through the journal the judge has ordered him to keep so he can think about what he has done.


What I Thought:

Nick is abusive both emotionally and physically.  Nick constantly puts Caitlin down and tells her what she can and can’t do.  Eventually Nick becomes physically violent.  We can hate Nick because he is abusive, but we also have to consider that he himself is abused.  While it doesn’t make what Nick has done okay, it does show the pattern of abuse.  Also Nick’s mother left him, which explains his fear of being left by Caitlin.  Caitlin is the one being abused, which makes it hard to criticize her, but it’s hard not to question why she stays with Nick.  Loving someone is understandable, but that doesn’t mean they get to abuse you both emotionally and physically.  We know (as shown through other characters) that Caitlin is not the only one who puts up with abuse.

Breathing Underwater sheds a lot of light on the dynamics of abuse.  It is at times hard to read, but it carries an important message.  I think this is a good book for anyone in a relationship to read, especially teenagers.   In the end Nick has grown as a character, but only time will tell how he turns out.  Getting the help that he did is the first step to change.


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