Book Review: Swimming to Chicago by David-Matthew Barnes

I’m having a hard time writing a review for this because I want to do it justice, yet I’m afraid my words won’t be sufficient. There were so many beautiful pieces of imagery that stuck out and followed the characters throughout the book that it really is a remarkable piece. Though tragedy strikes the characters, they get through it, together.

First, the pink and white sandals, flowers, and everything else that seems to follow Jillian around. It shows a sense of innocence, and yet her actions are far from. But at the same time, she is innocent because she isn’t completely aware of her actions and what chaos they will cause.

Then there is the way the characters are brought together, particularly Alex and Robby, as well as John and Martha. Alex loses his mother, and in walks Robby. He’s clearly a fragile person who has suffered at the hands of others, and Alex, fresh from his grief over finding his mother having committed suicide, he clings to Robby. Here is someone he can protect and keep safe, unlike his mother. Likewise, John, having just lost his wife, it isn’t surprising when he falls for Martha, a woman who is in a terrible relationship and looking for some way out.

While some may not believe the relationships, especially Alex and Robby, I thought it was very real. In times of grief, people do what they can to protect themselves. Alex was angry that he couldn’t help his mother, but he can help Robby, or so he thinks.

I thought their relationship was beautiful. I just wish more had been told from their point of view.

Really well done, but as I said before, my words fail to express how beautiful this novel was.

Swimming to Chicago is available for sale Bold Strokes Books and Amazon in paperback and e-book form.

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