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In at the Deep End Paperback – July 11, 2019
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In at the Deep End is…interesting. It touches on a lot of things, such as coming out, learning about yourself, and friendships. The friendship aspect of this book was probably my absolute favorite theme of the book. I loved how well the main character, Julia, got along with her best friend, Alice (with whom she also shared an apartment with). Their friendship felt so incredibly real, not forced at all. It was believable, which I liked. I do wish there would have been more of a background on how they became friends and what their relationship was like prior to the start of this story.
Another thing that is a big part of In at the Deep End is abusive relationships. As Julia tries to figure out who she is, including coming out as a lesbian, she encounters a woman named Sam. Sam, who is in love with another woman and expects Julia to be willing to share her with this other woman, is also interested in having intimate relations with other women, usually random women. She drags Julia to a bunch of adult-themed parties that push Julia out of her comfort zone, but since Julia is smitten with her, she agrees.
“Sometimes love and obsession are hard to tell apart, that’s all I’m saying.”
After that – things go downhill. Sam gets really obsessive and controlling toward Julia, even going as far to stop her from seeing her therapist and tell her who she can be friends with. She not only pushes Julia out of her comfort zone, she pushes Julia away, little by little, hurting her, verbally abusing her, and manipulating her.
I guess when I started reading this book I didn’t expect it to be so emotional and deep in terms of content. I highly recommend that anyone who reads this book is an adult, because there is a lot of…um…adult content? in here. It’s pretty raunchy at times, if I can be honest. There is a huge focus on S&M and very graphic sex scenes.
The character development in In at the Deep End was intense. So much changed between the beginning of the book and the end, with more than just Julia developing more as a character. Alice, Julia’s best friend and roommate, also grows as a person. The author does such an amazing job writing her characters, and for that, I adored this book. I fell in love with them from the instant I started reading.
That being said, it was a bit slow in the beginning. I enjoyed it, sure, but I honestly had a hard time getting into it during the first half of the book. Once I hit around 40%, though, I found myself really enjoying it, and I wasn’t able to put it down.
Would I recommend In at the Deep End? I’m honestly on the fence. Part of me wants to say that yes, I would recommend it for several reasons, including the huge take on friendships and the relationship between Julia and Sam; I felt like it added a lot to the novel and Julia’s character. The other part of me doesn’t think it was a must read, but everyone has different tastes, so if you’re curious about this one, pick it up and check it out.
It also left me wanting the author to have a new book out ASAP - hopefully with more queer characters at the center of the story.
The reason why I think some readers were frustrated by the evolution of the story, is that there is a “version” of this book that doesn’t change its tone. A book that keeps on being funny and quirky, Bridget Jones like, and stays and ends there. I would enjoy that also, I’m certain, but I didn’t mind suddenly feeling as trapped as in the darkness as our main character did.
I’m starved for these types of books, so I couldn’t do any less than 5 stars here. I love a good lesfic with the formula 2 MCs + romance, but it’s different reading queer stories in the mainstream publishing world, and I just want more of it.
Julia, twenty-six and single, has not had sex in three years, and the sex she had before that was unsatisfactory to say the least. When she decides she’s a lesbian (way too fast), things begin looking up for her. Unfortunately, Sam, her so-called “girlfriend,” is verbally and emotionally abusive and manipulative. What looked like love at first began feeling more joyless and abusive.
The publisher would have us believe that this book is a “fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones-like twenty-something….” It certainly had that feel for about a third of the book, but it quickly turned into something darker and so not Bridget Jones.
The characters often felt cardboardish and stereotypical, and take a back seat to Julia’s sexual explorations. There was some witty internal dialogue as when Julia decides she wants her roommates to be quieter when they’re having sex.
This book was all over the place and never seemed to settle in. The author couldn’t seem to decide whether she wanted this to be the Fifty Shades of Gray for lesbians or a coming out story or something less savory. Because the author didn’t focus, she didn’t succeed in any of the genres. Needless to say, there was no romance in this novel and maybe that was on purpose, but without it, it’s just a book with a lot of graphic sex scenes, some of them between the main character and another woman.
If you are looking for a book where a young woman wants to explore her sexuality and written in a thoughtful and purposeful way, this is not the book for you. If you just want to be titillated by a book with graphic sex scenes and a woman exploring lesbianism, pick this one up.
Top international reviews
In At the Deep End launched amid much hype, thanks to the work of the publisher, and therefore I couldn't resist buying a copy for myself. The story follows Julia, who hasn't had sex in three years and is stuck in a dead end civil servant job. After a disaster of a date, where she is accused of breaking his penis, Julia realises that perhaps she's been looking for love in all the wrong places.
Oh my days, this book was filth. PURE FILTH. But its also really really good. It starts off funny, and then turns to filth, and then on to a serious note that I personally thought it did well. When I started reading In At the Deep End, I did not think I would love it as much as I did. After I finished it, I couldn't stop thinking about it and desperately wanted to talk about it with someone. In At the Deep End shines a much needed light on LGBT relationships and LGBT culture and it certainly taught me a few new things. I can see why its being compared to Bridget Jones but I honestly do feel it can stand on its own merits. It's not a book to read on public transport, but it is a book that I would definitely recommend. I can't wait for the author's next book and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival on Amazon so I can pre-order.
The story focuses on Julia and her sexual awakening. She is nearly 30 and has always known she is bisexual but has yet to have a relationship with a woman. Once she does, her life changes forever.
In At the Deep End has been compared the Bridget Jones’s Diary which is a pretty fair assessment. Julia’s relationship escapades really do rival Bridget’s for their ridiculousness. However, Davies explores deeper issues too.
The story looks at manipulation, mental abuse, platonic relationships, and jealousy. This is a lot to be covered in its 392 pages.
I can honestly say that I didn’t want this book to end. I was so completely engrossed in Julia’s life that it became a pleasant distraction from my own.
In at the Deep End by Kate Davies is available now.
A refreshing slant on a search for love and coupledom. Lots of graphic lesbian sex but hey. No one blinks an eye at heterosexual practices. So learnt much. Sam was a nasty, manipulative, gaslighting individual. But some one has to be the villain.
I enjoyed it.
Unsatisfied and at a loss to understand why, Julia's dating life has been bleak for a long time. Her eyes are opened by a one-night stand that leads her to dating women. Soon she's in a relationship with a young woman named Sam. As exciting as things are with her new girlfriend, Julia's rose-tinted glasses are shutting out some crucial information about Sam.
The writing here is clever, warm and above all incredibly funny. If you no absolutely nothing of the world of same-sex relationships, Kate Davies does a great job of making it accessible, exciting and surprisingly educational. Whatever your sex, your age, your orientation you'll find plenty of humanity and love in 'In At The Deep End'.
Finally, it seems perfectly prime for an adaptation that will one day be on a list entitled 'Things not to watch with your parents.'
I recommend it absolutely.
This book details her first faltering steps into the lesbian lifestyle and along the way drug taking on talking to a friend who is gay they said it is so far reached from reality it is offensive and clings to misconceptions of the gay scene
A millennial decides that she is gay and describes in sordid detail her lesbian experiences.
I bought this from a review in the i newspaper that said it was amusing.....
No humour whatsoever, just relentless boring rubbish.
Save your money - wish I had.......