At the Water’s Edge, Sara Gruen
Hey, Fort Smithians, Smoky Lynx here, and I have the most unimportant news ever. I read a book about privileged rich kids and, boy, was it only mildly entertaining.
While the book opens with a scene set in Scotland, a woman who has just lost her child getting word that her husbands is MIA, presumed dead because there’s war on, it takes an abrupt turn. This book is about three absolute knuckleheads. Spotted: Maddie the It Girl of the season, Ellis her rich as hell husband, and Hank the ladies man. They’re attending a New Year’s Eve party where they are being insufferable Chuck Bassholes. These three are absolute garbage. The boys are pretending to be sad that they can’t serve, and Maddie is pretending she’s not on the verge of passing out because she never eats food. They make right asses of themselves.
At noon the following day, when Ellis and Maddie climbed out of separate beds – they live at his parent’s house – they discover that word has gotten around that they’re douchebags. I’m not sure why anyone is surprised. Didn’t they already know?
Anyway, to prove everyone wrong, the boys concoct a scheme to go to Scotland and prove that Nessie is real. That’s right. In the middle of WW2, these three throw all their time and resources into going to Scotland to take a picture of the Loch Ness Monster. The plan may seem absurd, but there’s an actual backstory involving Ellis’s father where this idea makes sense. I refuse to get into it. I won’t and I shan’t.
Anyway, they arrive in Scotland where their privilege sticks out like a sore thumb. They are demanding, whiny, rude, and flabbergasted that people aren’t falling all over themselves to serve them. The dialogue is basically this, “Why don’t you have meat? Why is there no electricity? This air raid horn is really killing my buzz. Why is the bunker so far away? There’s no whisky in the bunker? But, whhhhhyyyyyyyyyyy?”
So, at this point, I almost gave up. But the Scots saved the book for me. The Scottish characters were well-rounded, well-developed people who refused to take any of Ellis or Hank’s shit.
So, here’s how it all played out. Ellis and Hank are basically day drinking away their time. Maddie forms relationships with the women who work at the inn where they’re staying, drawing further and further away from Ellis and Hank. So far away, in fact, that she ends up hooking up with the man running the inn. Turns out, he’s the MIA soldier from the beginning of the book. That’s right, Angus ISN’T dead and his wife needn’t drown herself in the Loch. Some other things happen, but I would suggest that anyone interested in this exact same story read Water for Elephants instead. It’s a much better book and it features an elephant who understands Polish. What isn’t to love about that?
I love Water for Elephants, so I was excited to read this book by the same author, but it’s just too similar to her superior book.
So, that’s all for now.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay the hell away from me.