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Breathing Underwater Paperback – May 10, 2011
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It was only a slap. Well, maybe more than one. And maybe Nick used his fist at the end when the anger got out of control. But his girlfriend Caitlin deserved it--hadn't she defied him by singing in the school talent show when he had forbidden her to display herself like that? Even though he'd told her that everybody would laugh at her because she couldn't sing and was a fat slob? Both were lies. Because Caitlin was so beautiful, the only person who understood him. Out of his desperate need for her came all the mean words and the hitting. But now Caitlin's family has procured a restraining order to keep Nick away, and the judge has sentenced him to Mario Ortega's Family Violence class, to sit around every week with six other angry guys who hit their girlfriends. And to write a journal explaining how he got into this mess.
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
In what PW called "a gripping tale," a 16-year-old, who is considered perfect by his classmates, suffers a turbulent home life with an abusive father, and he himself follows the pattern of violence. Ages 13-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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 book was great!! I loved reading about how nick has to struggle to get back caitlin!!! Is there a second book?Published 1 month ago by Cool beans
This story was so crazy! This is the kind of story you should read while you are in high school. There is just so much emotion that goes into a story like this. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kristi Hulsey
I never considered that i had a anger problem. A friend of mine suggested i read this book. It was a eye opening experience. It was easy to read and easy to relate to. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Temper
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 9 months 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 9 months 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 10 months 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 11 months ago by Kindle Customer