Title: Deep Down True
Author: Juliette Fay
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Rating: 4 Bookmarks
Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: Freshly minted divorcee Dana Stellgarten attempts to navigate the waters of single-parenting and encounters a few sharks and rough waters along the way.
I received this novel unsolicited from the publisher and while attracted to the cover, the synopsis didn’t grab me. After settling down to read it, I found myself wholly engrossed with Juliette Fay’s writing–honest and devoid of gimmicks. A book that could easily be categorized as ‘chick-lit’ becomes much more under Fay’s direction. Her prose is simple yet elegant, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
Fay managed to develop authentic voices for a variety of diverse characters–a single mom, preteen daughter, young son, and angst riddled niece– while also writing some great dialogue for some secondary male characters. While the novel’s plot wasn’t earth shattering–no major twists or turns–Fay kept the story moving along a credible arc and kept me vested in the characters. It examined the mundaness and events of day-to-day living, the small details that create the bigger mosaic of life.
Tackling divorce, bulimia, dating, family conflicts, and the social hierarchy of middle school and adult friendship, Fay conveys the story, choosing her words with care and peppering in humor along the way. When Dana’s preteen daughter, Morgan, struggles with an eating disorder and the savage world of middle school, I felt sympathy for this fictional character because her pain was so vivid.
This book would be an excellent choice for a book club because its themes and conflicts are relatable and the discussion points are many. The novel also includes an author interview and discussion questions that would further foster conversation about Deep Down True. Juliette Fay wrote another novel–Shelter Me–and it’s now on my TBR list! I was so happy to be pleasantly surprised by a book–it’s been a while since that’s happened for me.