I saw Weeping Underwater Looks a lot Like Laughter on the fiction must reads table in a local bookstore. I was intrigued with its cover and the very dramatic and long title. The blurb promises of a story of loving and losing each other. As seen in my, eherm, book choices, I am sucker for this type of stories–a love so consuming that self-destruction becomes inevitable. Sadly though, the book came up short of a few of my expectations.
Please stop pyschoanalyzing me at this moment [or please do, and email me what you can say].
First up, I like the three main characters in the novel. We have George Flynn who is new in town and is all sorts of awkward and then he meets this dreamy character of Emily Schell, the resident artsy chick of the school. Now, you have to know that this is my kind of peg. Awkward guy meets the hot chick, so you could pretty much say that I am inclined to like this novel from the very start, but somehow, despite the previous said emotional investment in the main characters, I lost hmm, interest as the Katie, Emily’s sister with multiple sclerosis, came into the picture. As said in the blurb, a big event will suddenly pull our characters into a downward spiral, and I had a hunch that this will involve the fragile sister of Emily. And huzzah, she drowned and died.
Suddenly everything just become too complicated and not to the point of thrilling complicated, but the annoying, suffocating type of conflicts. Since Katie’s death, it has come into the episodes that the blurb has promised–of nights in drugs and motels.
The call of live on run was as electrifying and fear-providing as a new life-altering drug.
They ran away and thought of ways to find themselves again, after the tragedy of Katie’s death. It could have been the epic road trip I was hoping for, but I have an unexplained annoyance with George and Emily’s character. I was guessing it was because of the too much avoidance of confrontations? The too much skittering? The chase of emotions that it had just become tiring, all of a sudden?
This is the part where I had my expectations fall. Like what I have said, I was excited to read the part wherein the two characters had to love and have sex and lose each other in the process of getting over the guilt and horrors of Katie’s death. But somehow, despite the predisposed liking to this part, I was bored and I found myself breezing through the passages and pages.
Everything felt stretched and forced, and I found no elevation of the pain and the self-destruction, which I was totally looking forward to! All the fondness I had for George and admiration for Emily turned to annoyance, and I pretty well wished this novel to end.
Ahhh, a crucial factor could also be that I had Looking for Alaska at the back of my mind while reading. While the two novels talked of different stories, I was looking for the same self-consuming guilt and the losing of the Emily and George, the same way Pudge and the rest of the gang had experienced when they lost Alaska.
I know it is probably a bad idea to have it compared to one of my favorite books, but the story had a ring to it, and as much as I tried to have it silenced while reading, everything rings a little louder as I write this.
I’m sorry, but I just didn’t like it, probably due to personal reasons, but to leave you with all these rants is just bad, so here is my favorite lines Michael J. White wrote for Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter:
In Iowa’s golden-tassel summer, Emily was a squinting cowgirl, deliciously cherry in the shoulders and the very tip of her nose and ears. From time to time she’d search with her big brown eyes and such guileless affection that I felt on the verge of crumbling to my knees and giving up every aspiration I’d ever known. She’d just stare, sometimes smiling and sometimes not, but in a way that made me feel she could see our entire futures.
The joys of young love.