When aging Billie receives a phone call from Johnny, once her next door neighbor’s little boy, now a grown man with problems of his own, she is forced to recall the love of her life and how it ended in tragedy.
Before I even discuss the actual story, I really really need you to know that Bodies of Water is so crazy good that three things happened to me:
- I had to stop and catch my breath three quarters of the way through because the heartache was so intense. (Readers, you know that this is a very good thing.)
- Of course I did not stop reading because I was desperate to find out what happened, which then led to me sobbing hysterically on the M train from Manhattan to Queens when I reached the end.
- I am so eager to tell the world about this book that for once I am not procrastinating writing my blog post about it.
T. Greenwood has been a favorite author of mine ever since I read one of her early books (I think her second) Nearer than the Sky, and I swear each book is better than the one before. With Bodies of Water, she develops a love story that is so all-consuming that you forget everything you thought you knew or believed. I can’t imagine anyone not falling for Billie and Eva and their life-changing connection. Billie is such a compelling protagonist, never self-pitying but completely unable to forgive herself even though she knows she couldn’t have made any other choices than the ones that set the tragedy in motion. Her family life and that of her neighbors is fully realized, and you really feel the dreamy languor of a perfect summer day, as well as the icy chill of a Christmas ruined by violence.
I am a junkie for structure, and this one is carved out of wood, as Tyler Durden would say. She maintains the suspense of the present day story while parceling out the past with pitch-perfect pacing. And even though I suspected what was coming, I still loved how it all played out. Well done!