06 December 2010

Day 254: Drowned Sorrow

Drowned Sorrow by Vanessa Morgan.  ISBN: 9781605941622.

One of the things I think this novel did well was to remind me of how present water is, and how inescapable and how scary that might be if it were suddenly out to get me.  Although in the case of Drowned Sorrow the fear of water was caused by legitimate threats by the water in Moonlight Creek, there is such a thing as aquaphobia (note: hydrophobia is usually a symptom of rabies).

What would it be like to be afraid of something that is so basic to our lives?  There is not one day that goes by where we are not confronted with water in some form or another.  It is still the best possible way to get clean and of course it's pretty difficult to escape the weather.  Can you imagine how terrifying a bathroom must be for someone with a severe case of hydrophobia?  And then there's the fact that water covers 70% of our planet, and it's probably increasing thanks to global warming.  There would be absolutely no escaping if water was actually out to get you.

I've had a couple of experiences that have made me more aware of being trapped in water.  If you remember my blog posts about Susan Casey's The Wave, you'll know what I mean.  But most of this is caused by lack of appropriate respect or precautions taken by The Dumb Humans.  There are some terrifying weather events, to be sure, like my run in with a flood in Tennessee last May.  To be honest, I really ought to be more traumatized around water than I am, but all of those near drownings and weather disasters were more or less out of my control once I was in the situation and so being afraid of it wouldn't help me survive.  I did have one experience that almost stopped me from swimming, not because of the water, but because it was the first time I learned people will literally step on you to get what they want. 

I might have been anywhere from five to eight years old at the time this incident occurred.  I was swimming at a public pool, most likely on a military base.  The lifeguard had just blown the whistle to indicate that kid's swim was over and it was adult only swim now.  I was probably somewhere close to the deep end, but still technically in the shallow end.  I had hold of the hand rails and had lowered myself into the water in order to get a little more lift to haul myself up, when I felt someone step on my head and push me to the bottom of the pool.  My head must already have been underwater a bit, but even at the age of five I was already 4ft tall.  I remember thinking how heavy it was and how much pressure there was between the bottom of the pool and the person standing on top of me.  It felt like they took forever getting out, and I didn't have a full breath of air to go on, I remember clawing at their ankle. 

I don't know what they thought, but when the weight was finally off of me, there wasn't anyone standing over me to help me out of the pool or see if I was alright.  I know it was a white man, because I remember watching those ankles walk away as I coughed and tried to focus my eyes.  Kind of put a damper on swimming for a while.

Morgan definitely did a good job of making the water present, but perhaps it was a little too present.  I just don't think anyone would stay in a hotel that obviously smelled of mildew and had significant water damage.  There are enough instances of omnipresent water without having to find new ways of introducing it.  I think a more subtle touch would have been scarier and could have led to a bigger build up.  There was a lot of creepy-scary upfront that ruined the danger-scary for me at the lack-of-climax-because-it-was-all-heightened-emotion ending.  That jumped into a bit of a review; I'd apologize, but it can't all be me, me, me.

My review can be found on Goodreads.

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