Book Review: Deep Down Things by Tamara Linse.

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Deep Down Things by Tamara Linse. | Photo by Books Direct.

I’ve read this book earlier, and finished it within a week. Only because I brought the book with me to work and spent some time reading it on my lunch break. I realised that I missed out on a post of my thoughts and opinions about the book, so here it is. Today.

We will kick off with the custom of sharing the synopsis of the book from Goodreads, followed by a new practice of uploading a memorable phrase or quote from the book (if there are any), and lastly, my thoughts on the book, plot and/or characters.

Synopsis:

Deep Down Things, Tamara Linse’s debut novel, is the emotionally riveting story of three siblings torn apart by a charismatic bullrider-turned-writer and the love that triumphs despite tragedy. From the death of her parents at sixteen, Maggie Jordan yearns for lost family, while sister CJ drowns in alcohol and brother Tibs withdraws. When Maggie and an idealistic young writer named Jackdaw fall in love, she is certain that she’s found what she’s looking for. As she helps him write a novel, she gets pregnant, and they marry. But after Maggie gives birth to a darling boy, Jes, she struggles to cope with Jes’s severe birth defect, while Jackdaw struggles to overcome writer’s block brought on by memories of his abusive father. Ambitious, but never seeming so, Deep Down Things may remind you of Kent Haruf’s Plainsong and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.

Memorable Phrase:

Welcome to the country town of Loveland, where “people from all over mail in their Valentines so they can have a Loveland postmark”, and where the locals spend their days drinking at the bar, riding bulls in rodeos, or fishing. – Source: Books Direct.

Deep Down Things‘ is written in the form of a heartbreaking account of how three siblings, Maggie (short for Magdelene), CJ (short for Cleopatra Jordan) and Tibs (Tiberius) Jordan, struggle to accept their parents’ deaths and carry on living, while at the same time, struggling to survive with the tragedies that they face in present time. Told alternately from the points-of-view of Maggie, her sister CJ, her brother Tibs, and Tibs’ friend, Jackdaw, readers are able to follow each character’s account on what happens and what has happened in their lives, and how they adjust to it.

Maggie was too young to be affected by her parents’ death, but yearns for the tender loving care that many parents provide to their offspring. CJ is bitter and turns to alcohol and bartending for support. Tibs withdraws and struggles to find himself amidst the chaos. Enter Jackdaw, a charismatic bullrider-turned-writer, and suddenly, the siblings’ lives are turned inside out, and upside down. Maggie falls in love with Jackdaw, much to the chagrin of her sister CJ. Tibs provides his brotherly support but can’t help feeling that there is something wrong with the whole equation. But when Maggie is pregnant with Jackdaw’s baby who was unfortunately born with a severe birth defect, things start to take a turn for the worse.

My verdict:

The plus points of the book were its take on life and reality, how harsh it can be when things don’t turn out right, and pregnancy. It’s easier said than done when people tell you to make lemon juice when life throws lemons at you. Especially when you have suffered so much in the past, only to be reminded again in the present, and you wonder if you have anymore strength left in you to carry on. What are you going to do when you find out that you’re pregnant with someone’s child and you aren’t even married? What do you do when your baby has a birth defect? What happens when the man you fell in love before turns into someone you don’t recognise anymore? These questions are often faced by women, and more often than not, they don’t get the moral and emotional support that they deserve. Maggie faces all of these problems, and she doesn’t even have a reliable adult to lean on. Her parents perished when she was young. Jackdaw’s father can’t be trusted. I don’t recall ever reading about friends that Maggie should be having in the book.

The downside to the book was the behaviour of Jackdaw. If there is one thing that I can’t take sitting down, it’s a man’s cockiness and egoistic behaviour. Of course, this is only a story, but you know how stories go with me. I’m so bloody emphatic that how a book is written will impact me, one way or another. And I was quite annoyed with Jackdaw’s personality and character. Otherwise, the book was actually quite intriguing, enough to keep me going on until I finally turn the last page. Not the best I’ve read, but it served its purpose in keeping me occupied.

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