Monday, October 03, 2011

Review: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Raw Blue
Kirsty Eagar
Published June 29th, 2009
by Penguin Books Australia

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly cafĂ©. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.

And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

Well apparently I'm the only one in the world who didn't absolutely love this book. It's not bad by any means. I still genuinely enjoyed it, I just didn't completely fall in love with it.

Raw Blue is a deep and dark story about a girl who went through a traumatic ordeal and she's taken up surfing as an outlet to take her mind off of it all and, in a way, punishing herself for having been a victim. Like the title says, this is a raw story. It's dark. It's deeply impassioned and very fragile. Though it never becomes overwhelming; you can feel Carly's anguish throughout the whole story, but it's more than pointless teenage angst, it just feels true. You feel sympathetic and not just towards her, but the side characters as well. They all give Carly reason and esteem to help her move forward.

The protagonist, Carly, has a very strong voice in this story. She hides behind surfing and cooking, just trying to hold everything together. I loved how real she was. She wasn't reckless or superficial, she just was. I loved her way with people and her thought process throughout the story. She's anti-social but she still cares very deeply for the few people she lets in her life - even if she doesn't realize it.

Ryan, the love interest, is also perfect because he's so imperfect. He's got flaws. He's a human being. Not a perfect guy with a perfect life. How refreshing! I also like the way he spoke. It was very Australian-ey (or so I'm presuming anyways).

I did however have a hard time with the surf speak and local slang. I know next to zero in the subject of surfing. I live in Canada - says it all. So all the parts when she was in the water pretty much all went over my head. The story was not affected by it though. Surfing is a big part of the book, yes, but those parts were still not relevant except for demonstrating how surfing is a way of life for some people; An escape; A craving. There was some non-surf jargon that was also new to me, though I found it more endearing than troublesome. It gave it Australian charm.

When I went into this I was expecting a lighter read. A romance of some sort. Not really chick-lit but definitely not this deep. I think it's the main reason I didn't love it. I wasn't prepared and I kept waiting for the story to progress. But overall, this book definitely is a great work and Kirsty is amazing with words. If you haven't, I suggest you give it a try.

3/5 hot espressos