You know that moment when you finish a book and think, “YEAH I’M GONNA SIT HERE AND SMILE AND PERHAPS SHRIEK ONCE OR TWICE AND NOD ENTHUSIASTICALLY”? Because HUZZAH I just had that feeling. I really enjoyed devouring One Would Think The Deep! I mean, I have a small surfboard load of quibbles, but I just really LIKED this one and shall flap about very pleased with myself and the book for just a decade or so.
It Is Basically About:
- Sam, who is grieving the death of his mother and is an angry cinnamon roll
- 1990s music because it’s set in the 1990s so this is logical
- The most messed up family of the ever
- Copious amounts of hot chips (fries, for the Americans?)
- g’day Aussieness, mate
- I could not put it down basically
- THE WRITING IS A BUCKETFUL OF FANTASTIC.
How do I know? It was addictive. Humans were like “Caaaaait, come do This Thing.” And I was all “THIS BOOK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW GOODBYE”. (Unless they summoned me for dinner. Then I went. Because #priorities) I am in endless awe of Claire Zorn’s writing, basically. Also it nearly made me cry at the end. I actually had a small emotion in my throat omg.
- THE DIALOGUE IS ENTIRELY REALISTIC.
Which, coincidentally, made it insufferable at times. But still: REALISM WINS. Even though I mentally shouted “USE YOUR WORDS YOU SMALL MUTE GRAPES” several times, I was actually quite happy that no one burst into eloquent soliloques about their feelings. Most people can’t. And I also liked how it contrasted the surfing yobbo speech + skater talk + the average Bob down the road + slightly nerdier humans.
ANYWAY. Here is an example of typical Australian Teenage Boy Speak:
“Yeah. He was always dodge, ay. Like, he’d disappear for weeks and if we asked Mum where he was she’d go crook at us. I mean, he didn’t work much, so he musta been getting money from somewhere, ay. We were little, but. Didn’t know any different. Looking back on it now, though,” Minty pulled his head back and widened his eyes. “It’s like, shiiiit, ay.”
Okay, granted Minty is what we call a “bogan” meaning he has very small brains. Sam, our narrator, has a little more structure to his speech because a) he’s not a highschool dropout, and b) he is a closet nerd about meteorology, ergo he reads, ergo he speaks better. BUT REGARDLESS: I appreciated some realistic dialogue!
- AND SAM IS 10000% OF THE REASON I LOVED THIS BOOK.
Saaaam, oh the tragic, tortured little shark. With his mother dead after a sudden brain aneurysm, he is just a MESS. Sam’s grief was so palpable, basically. I really felt it. And that’s coming from the Vulcan, yo. NOW TO BRIEFLY DESCRIBE SAM:
- He has a tendency to hit things.
- He has zero idea what to do with his life because he has no motivation
- AKA I’m pretty sure he’s depressed
- Also just generally drowning in emotions he has no idea how to handle
- He’s completely unwanted by his relatives, considering he’s basically been dumped with them
- He’s super quiet.
- He’s actually awful at times BUT he matures throughout the book AND he acknowledged his awfulness.
- HE’S A TRAGIC VIOLENT CINNAMON ROLL AND I LOVED HIM.
- IT ALSO NODDED AT SEVERAL BIG ISSUES.
I wouldn’t say it was an “issue book”, but it did briefly touch upon:
- SEXISM: Sam’s cousin, Minty, is horrible sexist, as are all his friends. They treat women as objects and are just AWFUL. Sam is a shallow fish and doesn’t combat this at the beginning, but at the end he IS speaking up and IS telling Minty to stow it.
- MEN CAN’T CRY: Which, obviously, is tripe. But at one point Sam is just furious because he wants to cry over his mum but, as a boy, he feels like he can’t. I hate that society even thinks this way and I’m glad the book mentioned it AND, later on let Sam cry.
- OTHER PEOPLE DEFINE YOU: It’s an interesting topic! And it is true and not always in a bad way! People do make you. Sam’s mother was his everything; moral compass, encourager, motivator. And with her gone, who was he? One of the secondary characters, Ruby, is an adopted Aboriginal but doesn’t know her people. She questions if knowing would define her. Sam’s aunt and cousins were horribly domestically abused and this totally shapes how they live and react to life.
- BOYS CANNOT LIVE ON CHIPS ALONE: I mean, this sucks. How dare this be a reality. But apparently no, you can’t just live on deep fried potatoes and DO NEED OTHER FOOD GROUPS AND THIS WAS HARD FOR ME TO HANDLE but I appreciate the author tackling such heavy topics.
- THE SURFING LINGO WAS ALL PRETTY BORING.
Oops? I mean, maybe surfers would enjoy this part?!? But I was 10000% confused and bored. I kind of switched off during the descriptions of the waves.
- ALL THE 80s/90s MUSIC WAS EQUALLY ERGHHHHH.
Whooost. OVER MY HEAD. I don’t have a single clue in the history of EVER who all the artists they yabbered on about were. And the detail about it??? It was intense. And I didn’t care. So unless you care about 80s/90s music, you might find yourself skimming those parts too. (Honestly it befuddles me why I loved the book so much because of being bored over these two huge factors. BUT! The writing = brilliant. And Sam = tragic violent cinnamon roll. So that must be it.)
All in all: I name this one a monstrous success for me.
I loved how homey and Australian it felt and the writing and characters just totally devoured my eyeballs. Plus beaches are always a win because beaches are NICE. Although I have a hot chip craving now. I think we should honestly consider retitling this One Would Think The Chip. Because yum.
THANK YOU TO UQP FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. One Would Think The Deep by Claire Zorn was published in May 2016.
It’s 1997 and seventeen-year-old Sam is mourning the sudden loss of his mum …
Sam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, even his mum. And now she’s dead, it’s worse than ever.
With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty.
Despite the suspicion and hostility emanating from their fibro shack, Sam reverts to his childhood habit of following Minty around and is soon surfing with Minty to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But as the days slowly meld into one another, and ghosts from the past reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision … will he sink or will he swim.