Her estranged sister, Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties.
While Laurel's life seems neatly on track - a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna - everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor, Molly Dufresne. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly, floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable - an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco.
Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.
Richer and more rewarding than any story Joshilyn Jackson has yet written, yet still packed with Jackson's trademarked outrageous characters, sparkling dialogue, and defiantly twisting plotting, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is destined both to delight Jackson's loyal fans and capture a whole new audience.
©2008 Joshilyn Jackson; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
"Jackson matches effortless Southern storytelling with a keen eye for character and heart-stopping circumstances." (Publishers Weekly)
"One of the Best books I've purchased"
I read a review of this audio book in our local newspaper and was SO glad I purchased it. This was truly the best audio book I've gotten and I've gone on to purchase others by this author.
The narrator was terrific. She really brought the different characters to life. The mystery and plot were actually secondary in my opinion to the lively and descriptive writing here. The characters were finely drawn and it was a joy to listen to. I listen to audio books each day when I walk my dogs and I had a hard time stopping each day.
Highly recommend this audio book.
"great for the long haul!"
I listened to this while on a 14 hour car trip to Fla. I found the story very engaging. I believe that the author captured her own limitations as well as her love for her child and husband in an honest way, sometimes painfully so. The relationship with her sister and parents seemed deep and true. I usually shy away from books narrated by an author (rarely have I found an author who can do justice to their own work). Ms. Jackson is an exception to this rule. Her accent is real, as are her descriptions of the south. I highly recommend this and other works by J. Jackson.
"Excellent writing; wonderful narrarator"
I am nearing the end of this well-written novel. The author is a terrific reader - listening to this novel has the feel of listening to a full cast production without the jarring sensation that sometimes accompanies listening to a cast with multiple readers. Her tone, timbre and accent changes with each character, yet I never feel as though she is over-acting.
"Trouble in Stepford"
In Joshilyn Jackson's world, families are messy, characters are flawed and mysteries are quirky with unpredictable solutions. So it was unexpected to encounter Laurel and her family in a Stepford community trying to figure out why a young girl drowned, with every effort to prove that it wasn't a simple accident coming up empty. Like Laurel I kept thinking "something's not right", but couldn't puzzle it out. Then I got to the last third of the story where it took all kinds of turns and I thought Ah-ha, now we're getting somewhere. Throughout the early part of the book I felt as frustrated as Laurel, being let into blind alleys regarding the drowning and her marriage, and her family relationships constantly being stirred up by her volatile sister Thalia. Everything was upside down and so difficult to tell who is to be trusted. But once the crucial puzzle pieces fell into place for each of these dilemas, all was satisfyingly clear, but that's when the danger was the greatest. I loved the way it all came together. As always, love of family remains constant in spite of the craziness. Jackson reads her own words flawlessly, making her characters truly alive.
I fell in love with Joshilyn Jackson's writing after reading Gods in Alabama. I was worried about this one because I was afraid of being let down. No worries there! This is a great book. I look forward to reading more of her writing and love that she narrated this one and Between Georgia. I think she is the only one who could have brought her characters to life so perfectly.
"Good good good"
I really enjoyed this audio book. It made me want to buy, and I did, her other books in print.
Easy to follow and enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.
"It's a Good "Who Dun' It?" Novel for Women"
I like Joshilyn Jackson novels and I like this one well enough too. She is a brilliant narrator and a very good author. This Jackson novel was a Southern mystery novel solved by the women of the family. I did not think the book was as good or as interesting as some of the other Jackson novels that I read but it was good and, if you are a fan of Jackson, you will most likely like this book also. The relationships between the women of this family were well developed and mostly believable. The question of who did it hung on until almost the end which kept me interested and curious to keep listening.
I think I had higher hopes from this book, after listening to Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints. On the bottom of the curve for me, with Joshilyn Jackson, but still high compared with other writers.
I love her narration and wish she would do other books, (other than her own)
"Thalia Steals the Show!"
I liked this book. It was fast-paced, kept you guessing, and had great dialogue. But, Laurel, the narrator of the book, definitely gets backseated by her smart-mouthed, roguish sister, Thalia. I didn't find Laurel to be a sympathetic character. But, then again, that probably was what the author intended. In the end, Laurel is to find out the reasons for her mother's, and ultimately her own, reasons for always turning a blind eye to the bad things in life. But, you get the feeling that unless she keeps Thalia around to be her moral compass, she'll always revert back. I didn't trust the backbone that she was supposedly was to have gotten in the end.
I think this has been my favorite Joshilyn Jackson book to date. It had everything! True mystery, spirits, relationships, humor - I'm hooked, I hope she never stops writing AND narrating!
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