The Drowning Girl by: Caitlin Kiernan

The drowning girl

Quick Summary: Imp is a young woman who suffers from schizophrenia, as well as being an amazing artist. A bit of a loner, she has trouble shifting which memories appear in what order, as well as which are set in reality. This is a memoir of an important turning even in her life, of two loves, of two different versions of the same line of her life. Her words as she rights them contradict her own thoughts, argue back, and make her think of times and love past. Which memories are real, and in the end, how will she feel about herself?

I would put this book under an ‘artistic and indie feel’. At times it feels like it tries a little too hard to be original and angst, too convoluted in the different memories and thoughts of Imp. As a character Imp is a little hard to wrap around. She’s a functioning schizophrenic who loves artwork and tea, not much into electronics, and falls prey to her own mind. You want to feel sympathy for her, or empathy at least, as she is tossed about by trying to sort what memories are real and happened in the right order, and which are the ones her mind created for her. Yet at times she can come off as a bit too whiny and winded, a little too full of herself and the angst she brings out. Perhaps it is because she draws everything out just a little too long to be interesting where it fall over to annoying.

(Warning: Some possible minor spoilers ahead)

Her first love in the story Abalyn is a bit more interesting off the bat. Though it comes of a little cliché how she is nearly opposite of Imp. Abalyn plays video games, drinks coffee, is a bit more brash and ‘loud’ than Imp is. Honestly through a lot of this I feel worse for her than our main character. She is most understanding and patient with Imp, as anyone who is in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness has to be.

The second love Eva is just…I’m not sure how to explain her. Very enigmatic. Through a good chunk of the first part of the book you don’t really get to know who she is, or what she is, just the briefest descriptions from Imp who draws about her and thinks about her in a romantic, nearly obsessive way, while with Abalyn. Due to the nature of Imp’s mind you don’t know if she’s supernatural, or a strange human individual who is there to make Imp’s life more difficult.

As for the writing style, I can see how it is meant to be very artsy, fantasy like. It is written from the POV of Imp, and her being her, the story often drifts from one topic to another, backtracking on itself, changing what it states, etc. This makes sense when someone who is schizophrenic writes, sometimes the truth and “the truth” are different things. However, at times it veers so far from topic, or talks circles on itself, that I as a reader became bored at the overly confusing or ebb and flow of the story. Straying from topic here and there is fine, but when it is all over the place for most of the book, it comes off more as choppy and difficult then mysterious and dark. It tries to go a lot of places such as Imp’s past and the events that affected her life so much. Sometimes it reminded me of a moody teenager writing about how awful life is and no one understands her. Again, it wasn’t exactly bad…but it didn’t fully draw me in. I had to put the book down a good number of times because my own mind began to drift and I had to re-read some sections.

If you like this style of book, poetic with plenty of questions left in its wake, moody characters who talk about love and loss a lot, and narrative styles that don’t go a straight line, then this may be for you. Sadly, this could not hook me long enough to want to re-read it again.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

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