As a member of the book club at www.blogher.com, I have the opportunity to be introduced to books and authors that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. Sea Change by Jeremy Page is a captivating and beautifully written novel. I really couldn’t put it down.
When Guy finds his world turned upside down after the unspeakable happens to his little family of three, he sets sail aboard his ancient Dutch barge, The Flood, in an attempt to search for solace in the lonely seas. To escape the torturous memories of his shattered life, Guy keeps a diary that he writes in every night without fail. Within the diary’s pages, Guy doesn’t write about his daily routines and thoughts. Instead, he details the life that would have been if his family had not been so cruelly taken from him. He writes these stories with a shocking amount of detail and includes the most mundane of tasks that his imagined family does, such as stopping for gas, showering up for bed, and ordering room service for dinner (complete with an in-depth description of the taste of the food). Guy tries to insert as much realism into his journal entries as he can, such as relationship struggles with his wife and daughter, and the usual worry and concern that a father has for his child. These fantasized conflicts began to cross over into his real life thoughts as well, as he dwelled on how to fix the problems with the people he loves most. His level of involvement with this made up world reaches an obsessive level, and his desperation to escape his lonely life at sea is almost palpable.
The book switches between Guy’s imagined world in his diary, and his real life aboard The Flood. The pacing is relatively slow, but fits the content of the story itself. I really got a sense of Guy’s lonely nights on his barge, sometimes left with only his contrived memories of the life he should have had. I wobbled between feeling a sense of hope for his future or feeling like he is completely stuck in the rut he carved for himself. This is not a “feel good” book, to be sure, but it’s a lovely story of heartbreak, desperation, and the strange ways in which people deal with their own grief.
This book was sent to me for review for the book club at BlogHer.com. The opinions expressed are my own.