What’s That Book? Leaving the Beach by Mary Rowen

TitleLeaving the Beach

Author:  Mary Rowen

Genre: Fiction

Rating:  4 stars

What’s it about?  The story of Erin Reardon and her search for happiness. Told in the first person and set in the working class town of Winthrop, Massachusetts, readers get to know Erin in alternating time periods—in the 1970s and ‘80s as an awkward teenager and college student, and in the 1990s as a young adult. As a slightly overweight teenager, Erin struggles to fit in, but finds comfort in music, to the point of obsession, as she latches on to a string of rock stars, certain that they are the only ones who understand her: Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and the fictional grunge rocker, Lenny Weir, Erin’s main obsession. But Erin has major problems. Trouble at home and feelings of guilt and inadequacy lead to an eating disorder, alcohol abuse and a series of bad decisions.

Readers will enjoy reliving many classic teen and young adult moments as they relate to rock music, concerts and playing albums over and over. I like how Rowen describes the powerful one-on-one connection that can occur when you listen to music by yourself. Rowen also realistically shows the more painful times of rejection, not fitting in and the lonely moments suffered when everyone else seems to have life figured out.

How did you hear about it?  I saw Leaving the Beach reviewed by a few of my blogging friends and decided to read it myself.

Closing comments:  I thoroughly enjoyed this unique and fast read. Erin Reardon is both typical and remarkable, flawed but likable. Readers need to hold on to hope as she makes mistakes. I didn’t see the author’s truly original finish coming, and that made the book an even better read!

Contributor:  Book Club Mom

P.S. I was pleased to receive a message from Mary Rowen, who asked me to tell readers that, while Leaving the Beach is currently out of print, a newly edited version will be available in the summer of 2019. Learn more about Mary Rowen at MaryRowen.com.

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What’s up next? In the Heart of the Sea, by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea

I am excited to begin reading In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick. In 1820, the Essex, an American whaleship from Nantucket, Massachusetts, was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean. After spending months at sea, only eight crew members were rescued. Philbrick’s account includes the crew’s moral decisions and extreme methods to survive the ordeal, including cannibalism. A young Herman Melville became fascinated by this story, particularly of the whale’s immense power and potential for violence. He later met Captain George Pollard, Jr. and was inspired to write Moby-Dick. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I very much enjoyed reading another of Philbrick’s books, Mayflower and I also love reading stories and accounts of boats and ships and the way people survived the seas.

Essex whaling ship

In the Heart of the Sea was published in 2000. It is a New York Times Bestseller and won the 2000 National Book Award for nonfiction. It has been made into a movie and will be released in March 2015. Based on Philbrick’s book, it’s directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, and Charlotte Riley. The screenplay was written by Charles Leavitt.

Thanks to www. Movielovers.in for providing this great picture of the whale. Be sure to check out these other websites:




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