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Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Monday, June 24, 2013

Publisher: e-penguin
Format: Kindle e-book
Rating: 5/5

Carly lives to surf - or perhaps she surfs to live. Her whole life is scheduled around catching the next big wave. Surfing is her life jacket - the only thing that keeps her from becoming overwhelmed by that other deep blue. As she spends her mornings at the beach, she crosses paths with all sorts of characters, all of whom are enjoying the break from their regular lives and the problems they face. It is through a handful of these colourful folk that Carly's world turns to technicolour again and she begins to let go and breathe. 

Jumping galahs, this was a corker! I have yet to meet an Aussie book that I don't end up falling in love with (let's just forget I gave up on The Slap and handed it to Oxfam as pristine as the day I bought it). Anyway, this was a wonderful tale of release, restoration and new beginnings by Kirsty Eagar. 

Carly was so real - so damaged and closed off. When I finally got to the part describing what caused her to retreat into herself (although it is fairly obvious from the very beginning), I was overwhelmed with emotion because by then I was heavily invested in her wellbeing. It's difficult to portray an introverted character who the reader will continually root for but Kirsty Eagar managed it with Carly. I could picture her easily - hear her and see her expressions, which isn't too unusual for me as I am constantly casting the characters I read about (which is not always helpful). However, what was different with Carly is that the person I saw and heard was not an actress or model or even similar to anybody I know personally. Then there was Ryan. The whole way through the book I kept thanking God that there are people out there like Ryan. People who won't give up on someone who clearly needs a little more time and attention than most. Yes, he is a fictional character but it is obvious he was written from a place of love. 

I thought the dialogue was realistic and combined with all the Aussie slang, the descriptions of the beach, and the coastal watch reports created a vibrant and colourful atmosphere. They always say write what you know and this was evident in Raw Blue. I loved that the older surfers said 'faaarrk' because that's how it's said where I live too! Oh, and I liked the 'eeeeurgh' call when someone had a good ride (is that what you call it in surfing terms?!) but I'd like to hear someone say it - is it like 'yeeeeah' or 'erghhh'?! Help me out Australian friends! 

Overall, this story is about being able to start again - that everybody has the right to seek out a better life for themselves in spite of their past. It's also about not knowing what the future holds. Not everyone has a ten year plan. For some people, just getting through each day is enough. In fact, I think we all have moments in our life - years even - where we have to employ this mindset for whatever reason. I think if more New Adult books addressed these sorts of topics rather than focusing on the twenty year old virgin (because that's so scandalous, right? I've seen far too many NA books with this plot) it could become an interesting category. Then again, I suppose there are plenty of books shelved under general fiction that have these kinds of storylines, so who knows what will happen to the New Adult category. Anyway, what I do know is that Kirsty Eagar is a terrific writer and I'm going to get another one of her books soon. 

NB: After reading this book, I wanted to know more about surfing. So, I watched Billabong Odyssey on Netflix and wooooahh, awesome documentary! 

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