The First Time She Drowned Book Review!

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter can be summed up in one word; phenomenal.

It is a beautiful story with characters full of emotion, pain, and the most real qualities that make up a person. Kletter crafts this heartbreaking story with elegant finesse, the likes of which I haven’t seen done in a book in a long time. There is something so unique about the story telling in this book, the care at which Kletter delivers the trauma, emotion, and back story to Cassie’s life.

This book hands the sad reality of Cassie and other people’s real lives on a silver platter, and she decorates it with complex characters who reside with you, so closely to your heart, from page one.

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Synopsis1

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward. (synopsis from Goodreads) 

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Review

Growing up with the privileges of being extremely close to my family, and to my mom, there was something so devastating about reading the turmoil that is Cassie’s relationship with her mother. There is so much hurt, confusion, and sadness there that broke my heart.

You form a unique connection with Cassie reading this book. You almost become her, trying to navigate her past, and her memories. Trying as she does to find a string of hope for her mother and their relationship, if not for the fact that you want Cassie to end up having a mom who cares, but to find it even for yourself. To be reassured that mother’s care, that Moms can’t treat their own children like this. Part of this is what makes this story so heartbreaking, but at the same time such a human story. It teaches you that people are just people, and that not all Moms are really Mom’s. Not all people are the people they need to be for someone, no matter how much we may want them to be. I was surprised initially, but I was more thoughtful after finishing this book. I felt like for once I understood what some people meant when they said they weren’t close to their families, or that they have never really had moms or dads before. I walked away with a new perspective, and I love when a book can do that to me.

There was also something so empowering in Cassie learning this, no matter how sad. This character who is so lost, so confused- finally finds understanding and solace in the truth. This truth truly changes Cassie and shows the importance of being independent, in caring for yourself, in believing in yourself.

Even if you haven’t gone through the same things as Cassie, the same abuse, everyone, I believe at some point in their life, has gone through something they couldn’t understand and had to learn how to come to terms with it, understand it, find strength in it, and move on from it. I found a connection with Cassie that was so deeply emotional, I almost couldn’t differentiate myself from her. It made connecting to her story, and feeling something for it, such a beautiful experience.

I definitely walked away from this book with both a heavy heart, and a warm one. I finished feeling satisfied with the put come, happy for how things worked out, and hopeful for Cassie.  The First Time She Drowned hit me hard, and its story has stuck with me, and I think always will. This book is truly wonderful and definitely a must read!

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Buy Here

< Barnes & Noble > < Books-A-Million > < Amazon >

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About the Author

KK

Kerry Kletter has had a lifelong passion for story. She holds a degree in literature and has an extensive background in theater, having appeared in film, television, and onstage.

When not writing, Kerry can be found surfing, running, working with animals, or singing loudly in her car while stuck in LA traffic.

A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Kerry now lives in Santa Monica, California, with her partner, screenwriter David Zorn. The First Time She Drowned is her debut novel.

Follow her on Twitter @kkletter.

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