Pull Me Under // Kelly Luce
This is the story of a young woman who holds a terrible childhood secret. This secret comes to haunt her in her adult life, and on a new continent. You follow Rio, as she goes home to her hometown in Japan, and uncovers secrets, and tries to come to terms with her past.
Thoughts // Review
I didn’t want to give much more of a synopsis than I did, because I have heard a lot of complaints about this book centered around people’s expectations. This book is definitely not your typical thriller; it’s not really a thriller at all. There are very ominous and mysterious aspects of the story that keep you turning each page, but this is definitely more literary than thriller (and even a character study of sorts).
I really loved how much research was put into this novel. I could tell that Kelly Luce spent time making sure that her story was authentic and believable. I loved feeling totally immersed in Japanese culture, and I really enjoyed Rio’s time in Japan, as she explores her past, and uncovers old history.
The writing style was simple and direct (but GOOD), and I think this helped the story feel true with the delivery of its themes and messages.
This book deals with some really hard topics, in terms of how we deal with being bullied, how we feel when we lose a loved one, and how we hide who we are from those we are closest to. This book goes back and forth from Rio’s past, to present, and in the past sections, you see that Rio was mercilessly bullied for her mixed-race ancestry, and she is dubbed “hafu,” by her school peers who refuse to accept her as one of their own.
I did have one complaint of the story, making this book not quite a 5 star read for me. I felt that all of the men in the book were almost paper cutouts of bad guys. I found the biggest offender of male sterotyping was Rio’s husband, Sal. He felt like he was pulled out of your corniest rom-com film. He was always attentive to Rio, even when she was being secretive, and he seemed way too comfortable with the fact that she keeps him completely in the dark regarding her past. He only questions what Rio allows him to question, in regards to her former life in Japan. When he does get filled in on the secrets she hasn’t told him, he acts a little upset, but eventually he just accepts the reality of his new life. He is a character that definitely seems written through the filter of a female writer. No one is this good; no one is this understanding. This was the only aspect of the book that didn’t really make sense and didn’t seem realistic to me.
That being said, I also liked how the book ended, and I felt that the length of this book was pretty perfect. The author said just enough throughout the novel to make the story interesting and thorough, but she didn’t drag out the story and tell you anything that was unnecessary. The book felt like it had purpose, and its purpose was fulfilled, in my opinion.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars