weeping underwater looks a lot like laughter book cover

Truthfully, it was the title of Weeping Underwater Looks A Lot Like Laughter that drew me to the story. Once I read the synopsis, I thought the story itself sounded interesting, and for the most part it was. Weeping Underwater is the first novel from Michael J. White, and at times that comes across in his (wordy) writing.

While the story had potential, the execution of the writing was hard for me to swallow. Weeping Underwater Looks A Lot Like Laughter follows the story of newcomer George Flynn who moves to Des Moines, Iowa. George immediately becomes smitten with the star actress (Emily) in his high school class, and ultimately becomes friends with her and her younger sister Katie.

Katie is 13 years old, and suffering from multiple sclerosis. She eventually ends up with a crush of her own on George, resulting in a love triangle between the sisters and George.

As characters George, Katie, and Emily are predictable. There isn’t any growth in the course of the story, and as a reader, you can pretty much guess what course of action they will take next. We’ve seen these stereotypes before – the newcomer, the sarcastic younger sibling who is far too smart for her own good, the aloof heroine. Even the supporting characters of the story fit into clich├ęs, the jock, the drunks, etc.

Weeping Underwater had potential to be a great story. All of the plot points where there where they should be, the set up was great, and even the first two or three chapters had me engrossed. It was when I became more involved in the story that I noticed the writing seemed a little… indulgent.

However, that doesn’t mean that certain aspects of Weeping Underwater Looks A Lot Like Laughter don’t work! The makings for a GREAT story are there, but I feel that marketing this as an adult novel wasn’t really the best way to go. The love story between the Schell sisters and George could EASILY have played really well as a young adult novel – I would’ve eaten it up had it been a little more wide-eyed and dewy.

But as is, Weeping Underwater Looks A Lot Like Laughter is cumbersome, wordy, and leaves the opening story arc of the plot unresolved. I felt like I was pulled from the story of the novel too much with interjections from older versions of the characters. I would like to take another stab at this one. Maybe knowing the writing style, it would make the reading experience better.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Putnam Adult | Pages: 352 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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