Sea Change by Jeremy Page
Published by: Viking Adult
Published on: December 2010
Page Count: 288
My Reading Format: Audiobook sent to me for review by Blackstone Audio
Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: John Lee
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 1 minute
Available Formats: Harcover, audiobook, eBook
The death of a child is one of the biggest blows a marriage can experience. Often that blow is more than the couple can survive. This is exactly the way Guy and Judy’s marriage came to an end. Their only daughter, Freya, is killed in a freak accident. Within months, their marriage is over, leaving Guy unsettled and without purpose. He buys a Dutch barge and sets off toward the North Sea. At night, he keeps a diary, not of his days on the barge, but of the life he and his family would have had were it not for Freya’s death. He had no cause to consider the meaning of this self-deception until he encounters Marta and her grown daughter Rhona in the estuary near some of his best memories of his early relationship with Judy. These women come into his life with their own grief. What purpose will Guy have in their lives? What purpose will they have in his?
Guy is one depressed man. In short order he loses his beloved five year old daughter and then the wife he adored. Freya was his smile and Judy was the music of his life. I could understand how lost he was and how tempting it must have been to start writing a diary of the life he lost. He wrote to keep Freya alive some way, but even in this made up existence, the pain is never far away. The longer he keeps the journal of their trip across the United States, the more reality seeps in. I got to the point that I wanted Marta or Rhona or even a fish from the sea to follow Cher’s lead from Moonstruck and tell Guy to “Snap out of it!” I wondered if he couldn’t see that his compulsion to write about Freya and Judy was hurting, not helping him. Over time, it gets hard to dwell in his murky darkness.
It’s difficult to spend so much time in the head of a depressed person. If it must be done, John Lee might as well be your tour guide. Last summer I spent several weeks with John Lee while reading Pillars of the Earth. I loved his narration and he made that tome move at a brisk and melodic pace. As soon as Sea Change began, I instantly felt comfortable. It was if he’d been waiting on me to have him tell me another story. I did have to look up Freya’s name shortly after getting started. It sounded to me like her name was “Frayer.” I knew (hoped actually) that couldn’t possibly be her name. Once I looked it up, I heard it perfectly clearly. John Lee’s narration was the highlight of Sea Change for me.
Reading Sea Change required a good deal of concentration and I wasn’t convinced it would pay off in the end. I grew more hopeful as additional details about his actual life with Judy were brought to life and started to round everything out. It is not fun or fulfilling being or living with a depressed person. As someone who has found her own way to the “other side,” I wanted him to feel something. I wanted him to come to terms with everything he’d lost instead of burying himself in his diary. I wanted to see him grow more content or angry. I was happy when he found his storm. The ending was not at all what I was expecting and it felt appropriate and worthwhile. When picking up this novel, be prepared for a journey inside the heart of a desperately lonely and heartsick man.