Publication Date: July 15, 2015
In Taking on Water by David Rawding, James Morrow is a social worker. He suspects that local teen, Kevin Flynn, is being abused. As James gets to know the Flynn family, a kinship builds. Maya Morrow, the wife of James, is a detective called upon to investigate the drug-related death of a teen. As she delves into the case layers of history are revealed that could devastate everyone.
The author gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Everyone has issues and everyone has a history that colors the landscape of who they grow to be. James Morrow is a character built on his past. Rawding gives the reader heartbreaking flashbacks that show us why James does what he does and the things he’s hidden from even those people closest to him. Balancing James is his extremely tough wife, Maya, whose only weakness is James. The lesson of Taking on Water is that eventually no matter how hard you try to separate from your past, it can always come back.
Taking on Water starts slow. The book starts with Kevin’s father, Tucker, working on his lobster boat. As the plot builds, readers will either be drawn into the intricate tale or abandon the novel before things start to heat up. Had I not been reading the book for review, I might have stopped early on and moved on to something else. There was a hint of a strong bad-guy plot line, but the confrontation was more evil bullies from central casting than actual danger. As the story progressed, the characters started to come together in a way that made sense for the reader.
James, at first, is the character in the white hat. He’s determined to save everyone in a way that may read as somewhat manic. As James is revealed as a character, the work put into his progression is evident. Social work is a tough field that is emotionally draining and, at times, at the mercy of the judgment of the observer. No one is infallible, and everyone makes mistakes and the premise of Taking on Water revolves as much around the revelation of James as anything else. The scenes in which James must do his job are vivid and scarring and speak of personal experience. Taking on Water feels like exactly the novel the author wanted to write. There’s no hesitation in the flow. Transition, whether to past or present, is smoothly accomplished and I cannot recall a moment of having to look back to see how we got to a certain point in the novel.
Does it seem as though I enjoyed Taking on Water? It was a good read that was solidly constructed and cannot be faulted in any way, technically. At times, it was a hard story to read and to say, one enjoyed it is perhaps not an accurate description. That it was well written, interesting after a point and laid out in a logical sense is the apt descriptor Taking on Water could be given.
If you are a fan of human struggle stories, pick up Taking on Water today and let me know what you think.
You can read an excerpt and buy Taking on Water by David Rawding on