Monday, April 17, 2006

Night Swimming

Night Swimming by Robin Schwartz

I had high hopes for this book but I should have had a clue to its ending by the cover. Two hundred and fifty three pound Charlotte Clapp goes to the doctor for her annual checkup only to discover that she has less than a year to live. Having grown up in a small town where nothing much happens she doesn’t want to lie on her deathbed with life regrets. In a fugue state she proceeds to rob the bank that she has worked at for fifteen years and makes off in the dead of night to Hollywood with two million dollars. She meets some interesting characters along the way in the Mississippi Delta and the Big Easy. When she gets to California she buys an apartment with cash and begins her new life, sort of. This is where the plot loses me. I keep hoping that she would continue her trend of doing interesting things and meeting interesting people like she did on the trip out west but this just doesn’t happen. Instead this book turns into one of those fat girls loses a bunch of weight and then gets the guy books. I was disappointed by the predictability of the plot and I found the change to her assumed name halfway through the book and then back again at the end simply annoying. She spends most of her days lolling by the pool covertly staring at the pool guy all the while falling in love with him. She doesn’t even know him and, by the way, he is married. She starts swimming at night and loses 128 pounds. That’s when she gets a makeover including going blonde and then gets her pool guy. Yuck.

Here is how I would have written it: In Hollywood she would meet a funny, down to earth drag queen who would introduce her around to his/her friends and she would be inducted into the club night world where she would become a popular torch singer. After singing to her adoring fans she would go home to unwind by night swimming. Sounds better, don’t you think? The dialogue becomes tedious by the end and the situations after she is caught are simply ridiculous. And that book cover that I mentioned? Her legs are awfully skinny, too skinny, in fact, for a 253-pound person. Overall I would say forget this one. It could have been great but it ends up falling flat. -Flourish


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... sounds pretty bad. Did she actually die in the end or did losing all the weight perform a medical miracle (or was there perhaps a mistake in her diagnosis a la Last Holiday)?

12:21 AM  
Blogger doubleknot said...

I shall avoid this one. I suppose she came out all slim and trim after losing all that weight and didn't need plastic surgery.

1:29 AM  
Blogger Flourish & Blotts said...

Bookwork Kiki,

how did you guess that it was a misdiagnosis? She gets to live in the end and is all slim and trim and therefore happy. Truly disappointing! -Flourish

11:09 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I almost bought this book because of the title but frankly your version sounds a lot more interesting than the real version.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention how all these "zany" characters the protagonist meets on the road to Hollywood give her sappy advice about life ala Dr. Phil, or Oprah. I found myself whishing she would either kill herself, or get arrested and thrown in prison.

6:32 AM  

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