“This is all sorts of fucked up.”
“I know, baby. But the best kind of fucked up.”
There were many descriptive words that ran through my mind when I was thinking about how to summarize my feelings towards Left Drowning by Jessica Park. The above is just a fraction of the plethora of emotions that I experienced while reading this book. It was simply earth-shatteringly beautiful and moving.
He tastes like eternity, and healing, and completion.
If I believed in God or was religious to any degree, I might argue that these crazy physical sensations are punishment for masturbating. For masturbating a lot. I think that I may have an addiction.
Just get through the day, Blythe. You can fucking do this.
Four years. Jesus, I have been like this for four fucking years? I start to wonder what I have missed out on. Who I have missed out on.
Four years ago, Blythe McGuire experienced a tragedy that left the weight of the world on her delicate shoulders. She was left picking up the pieces of her shattered life and that of her brother. Four years later, Blythe is still attempting to pick up those same pieces. She is numb, closed off, depressed....a recluse. Guilt haunts her and every day she struggles with not being able to let go of the past and move forward with her life. She is a lonely, empty shell of a person who is living in perpetual mourning and simply existing. That is, until she meets Chris. Blythe instantly feels a deep connection with this perfect stranger. It is a pull too difficult to ignore.
“We both know that there is no God.”
“No,” he agrees. “There is no God. Not for us.”
Christopher Shepherd lives each day pretending. Pretending that everything is fine. Pretending that he does not fight to control his emotions and push down the pain. Chris and his younger siblings have dealt with hardship and unimaginable circumstances. Desperate to protect his siblings from the cruelty, Chris took the brunt of it. He learned to work through the pain, ignore it. He taught himself to not feel. When he meets Blythe he is automatically drawn to her beauty and spirit. He is drawn to her brokenness. He feels that same pull that Blythe does but the only difference is that Chris does not want to feel anything. He is not willing to get involved with someone who does exactly that....brings all his emotions to the surface.
I have spent four years without touch and affection and without wanting any, but now there is Christopher Shepherd, the boy who has changed all the rules.
“It’s ok. Breathe into it.”
Chris and Blythe share an undeniable connection and chemistry. While this powerful link is what pulls Blythe into existing once again, it is the opposite for Chris. Chris begins to drown. Blythe’s journey was simply breathtaking. She slowly begins to heal and her inner strength and determination to finally put the past behind her made her one of the best written female characters that I have ever read. I adored her. Chris gets through to Blythe and is there for her when she begins to open up. With his understanding and acceptance, she is able to breathe once again. Chris, on the other hand, made me want to hug him and kick him in the balls all at the same time. Damn, did he ever frustrate me!!! There was a portion in the book that I was so angry at his cowardice. I wanted Blythe to walk and never look back. I completely understood that having Blythe in his life was forcing him to face his pain and deepest fears, something he was not ready for. However, his decisions were flabbergasting!
I am hit with the enormity of the impact that this family is having in my life. They, and mostly Chris, are saving me. Or teaching me to save myself.
As much as Chris plays an important role in Blythe’s healing and resurrection, his three siblings (particularly his brother, Sabin) also were consequential in her journey. I adored all three siblings but Sabin definitely holds a special place in my heart. He was simply so vibrant and full of life. He was determined to show Blythe how to live life once again. All four Shepherd siblings, Chris included, welcome Blythe into their family. She finally has a sense of belonging once again. She finally has a sense of family. Blythe slowly starts to comprehend that the Shepherd clan is not without their own issues, perhaps issues that run deeper and more painful than hers. She becomes a quintessential part of their restoration. It truly was heart-wrenching, amazing and beautiful to see everything come full circle.
“You’re just.... You’re everything.”
Chris may be imperfect, and he makes mistakes, but I can feel his heart, and I know that he is mine.
"I love you simply because I do. And that’s it. That’s the only goddamn thing that matters. I love every single part of you."
“What are we doing? What are you doing?”
“Loving you,” he says simply. “If you’ll let me.”
“Always. God, always.”
“We’re going to have slow, meticulous, exhaustive, fantastic lovemaking.”
I smile. “And hot and dirty?”
“That’s my girl.”
Despite the fact that Chris and Blythe feel this undeniable chemistry and pull, their relationship actually develops slowly and gradually. For me, it was very realistic. The intimacy they shared was beyond words and I am not talking about sex here. You could feel how powerful their feelings were for one another. They did share some sexy and heart-pounding sexy times. Boy did they ever! Phew! However, it was the way that they simply fit together that spoke to my heart. The moments that gutted me, destroyed me and had me crying hard were the quiet ones that made me truly appreciate and understand just how strongly joined this pair was. Seriously, my heart skips a beat when I think about how deep Blythe’s and Chris’ feelings ran for one another. A once in a lifetime love.
Left Drowning is one of those books that will leave an emotional impact. At least it did for me. It was devastatingly beautiful and eloquently written. Jessica Park is truly a literary genius in my opinion. She gave us two desperately broken individuals, made us fall in love with them and hurt with them, and then she wrapped it all up in an ending that was simply perfection. Not only that, but Ms. Park gave us an abundance of secondary characters that are just as memorable as the hero and heroine. This book was witty and funny at times, it had me swooning, it had my heart clenching with pain and it had me experiencing insurmountable bouts of joy. Not many books speak to me in such a manner. Definitely phenomenal.
“We’ll make it to that finish line, won’t we, Blythe?”
We run through the remnants of our pain, and more importantly, we run for our present and for our future.
Together we kick heartbreak’s ass.