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Breathing Underwater Paperback – May 10, 2011
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Other teen novels--most strikingly Dreamland by Sarah Dessen--have shown dating violence from the point of view of a young girl trapped in an abusive relationship, but in Breathing Underwater, first-time novelist Alex Flinn tackles the difficult task of making us understand, if not sympathize with, the motivation of a violent young man. The story, like Rob Thomas's stylistically similar Rats Saw God, proceeds in two different time frames: the journal in which Nick relives the course of his tender but stormy love affair with Caitlin and the time after the restraining order, in which a desperate and friendless Nick struggles to understand and overcome his anger. This extraordinarily moving novel is highly relevant reading for all young men in our violence-prone society. (Ages 13 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More About the Author
Flinn attended a performing arts high school program, similar to that portrayed in her book, Diva, then majored in vocal performance in college. Panicked upon realizing that there weren't a whole lot of jobs for opera singers, Flinn went to law school.
Law school was, it turns out a really good place to learn to write for teenagers. Writing for teens and writing for judges are very similar because both judges and teens have a lot of demands on their time and minimal time for reading. Also, Flinn interned at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, trying many domestic violence cases, which were later the inspiration for her first novel, Breathing Underwater.
Breathing Underwater was published in 2001. It received many honors, including being chosen a Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. It was followed by Breaking Point, Nothing to Lose, Fade to Black, Diva, and Beastly. Beastly is soon to be released as a motion picture. Her newest book is A Kiss in Time, a modern Sleeping Beauty.
Flinn still lives in Miami with her husband, two daughters, a dog, cat, and African Spur-Thighed Tortoise. She enjoys performing arts, biking, and travel.
Top Customer Reviews
The premise is a complex one. Author Alex Flinn set out to write about an abusive relationship from the abuser's point of view. Now how do you go about doing that, exactly? How do you write a story in which the reader has to simultaneously empathize with and abhor the protagonist? The fact of the matter is, Flinn is so adept with her writing skills that she gets away with it. The result is phenomenal.
The real strength of this story is the way in which the plot arcs and fools the reader. Nick is hardly a reliable narrator (a fact that becomes painfully clear by the end of the story). Yet when he writes in his journal, he feels unaccountably unable to lie about anything that happened. Flinn slowly brings the plot in the journal, and the story of how Nick lives in the aftermath of his own violence, together by the book's end. She does not compromise her position either. As a woman who served as a lawyer trying domestic violence cases and as a volunteer at the Inn Transition facility for battered women and their kids, she knows from whence she speaks. This isn't an author who is speculating on what violence does to families and friends. She knows. Better still, she can write about it.
This isn't a perfect book, I suppose. Some jumps in the plot are implausible. Some characters inconsistent. But what flaws it has only serve to show how strong the story itself is. There is no book on how abusers feel that is as available and accessible to young adults as "Breathing Underwater". You will never regret having read it.
Also Flinn's details, events, background stories of the characters clearly come from her experiences working with people in similar situations. Even her wildest story -- Leo becoming a puppet abuser (i.e. his father is pulling the strings) is very believable, at least to me, because I know someone whose father made him do horrible, abusive things to his sister.
Painful, yet healing book to read, about something that both teens and adults need to be aware of.
Breathing Underwater was a very good book. My favorite character was Nick. Even though he was abusive I still enjoyed reading about what happened to him on his bumpy road of life. The book was a good story and I found it hard to put it down. I liked the book also because it was a story on something that happens more then people may think it does. And I think this book teaches kids that, sadly, abuse does happen often between couples. The book was also a good story and I found it hard to put it down. I think you should read Breathing Underwater. It is very good and it is the kind of book that every type of person would like!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the one book that both high school boys and girls will read. Have challenged reluctant readers to read 15 pages--and if they wanted to stop, I would give them credit for... Read morePublished 15 days ago by M. Brooks
Breathing Underwater is a gripping story about a young high school student named Nick Andreas. Nick was a popular, handsome high school student before he entered a relationship... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
A real page turner that keeps ones interest easily. Had to read it for school years ago and since then have read it countless more times for fun. Absolutely love this book.Published 1 month ago by Ouida
In first read the book back in high school with my class and I love it to death reading in my 20s I feel much different I really enjoyed it and it can be a bit graphic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
My teen daughter read this book for a school project on censorship. She thought the book was very well written, brought up some important issues. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lori Reddy
I did like it. My son read it for class and liked it a lot (he's not a reader) so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad it was written and used in schools!Published 3 months ago by Shopper
This book is amazing! My brother-in-law recommended this book to me and I am so glad he did!Published 3 months ago by Jennifer
So good, and so real, I read the whole book in three days mostly because I had to go to bed in order to wake up for work. You won't want to put the book down :)Published 6 months ago by Andrea
I'm a teacher and this was out summer read. We had great discussion about this. I only recommend teens reading this if they have own communications with parents or adults because... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mishelle Banfield