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Aquamarine Paperback – November 14, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Flash forward to July 1990. Jesse is about to turn 40, but is she happy with the choice she made immediately after winning the silver? In an unusual novel, author Carol Anshaw gives us a look into three posibile presents for Jesse.
In the first, she has been married for 20 years to Neal Pratt and still lives in her small hometown of New Jerusalem, Missouri. Her mentally retarded brother lives with them and helps with the upkeeep of Pratt's Caverns, the small business left to them by Neal's parents. Her godmother, Hallie, talks of the upcoming retirement party for Jesse's mother, an English teacher at the local high school. Jesse is content but still wonders about her first love, Marty Finch.
In the second, Jesse is an English professor in New York City, something she thought her mother would be proud of, but isn't. She also lives with her lover, Kit, who plays vampy Nurse Rhonda on a soap opera. Jesse is taking her to her mother's retirement party in New Jerusalem, Missouri, unsure of how the family will react to the two of them together. Her godmother Hallie has always known. Jesse thinks that Kit is going to leave her, especially when Jesse's mother asks her to take in her retarded brother Willie. But, in the back of her mind, she still wonders if she was being used by Marty Finch on that day in Mexico City.
In the third, a divorced Jesse lives in Venus Beach, Florida, with her children Anthony and Sharon. Anthony's had a run-in with the law, and now, his father is on his way from New York to "take care of things.Read more ›
Even though the writing feels light in many places, the effect slowly starts to pile up in heavier and heavier subtexts until it will have knocked you flat by the end, trust me.
In each of the stories the main character makes a seemingly innocuous choice--whether to stay rural or go urban; marry out of high school or go to university--that completely and radically not only changes her but set her on that "inevitable" course. For all of our "decision making" "career moves" et al we are amazingly malleable and control is pretty much illusion.
Best of all, none of the lives she becomes are judged better or worse. They are just different--variant and perhaps opposite, and yet all are familiar and all are worthy. Whatever your outlook on life, you almost certainly haven't looked at it through this lens.
It is absolutely one of the best books I have ever read. Carol Anshaw is a brilliant, nuanced writer. She can write descriptive passages, and she can also write dead-on dialogue.
The book is achingly true and human. It is humorous. It is haunting. I have no idea why Carol Anshaw is not better known, but now I need to read everything she's ever written.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a nice vacation read. It's hard to find gay fiction that one can really see themselves in that is also well written. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jennifer Doyle
Interesting characters with sort of a different way of telling their (specifically her) story. It's the old, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. . . Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by M. S. Miller
Don't buy this book. It's poorly written, not very believable, and really not interesting. I don't recommend it to anyone.Published on August 9, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Even though I first read this book years ago, I always think about it as I choose the different paths in my life. Read morePublished on April 25, 2010 by Elizabeth Gauger
I love this book. Anshaw has such a beautiful prose style - it's unlike any other writer I've read. Read morePublished on August 5, 2009 by Z Egloff
Anshaw's telling of three different paths a single life can take is very refreshing. I liked how the cast of characters remained the same in each scenario, but their relationships... Read morePublished on July 19, 2006 by E. Marshall
Aquamarine begins in the summer of 1968 at the Olympics in the swimming pool. Jesse, the teenager who comes in with the silver medal, falls in love with Marty, her teammate,... Read morePublished on October 18, 2003 by Peggy Vincent
Michael Cunningham (who wrote the fabulous book THE HOURS) recommended this book. I can see how he liked the stance of a woman who is a champion swimmer and takes a dive into... Read morePublished on October 10, 2003 by Michael J. Armijo
I was fortunate enough to have been required to read this book for a Women's Studies class, and am thankful to my instructor. Read morePublished on August 29, 2002