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Swimming Lessons (2007)

Swimming Lessons (2007)
4.09 of 5 Votes: 3
0778324621 (ISBN13: 9780778324621)
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Swimming Lessons (2007)
Swimming Lessons (2007)

About book: This story is a follow-up to The Beach House; another Monroe book I enjoyed. This story is well written in that the journey of the turtle named Big Girl mirrors the journey of Toy Sooner the main character.The story is fairly predictable, but interesting. I found myself wanting to know much more about Loggerhead Turtles and the differences between various kinds of sea turtles in the world; all of which are endangered. But back to the story. What I did not enjoy were the editing errors and the printing mistakes. Some so blantant as to be distracting. One of the problems that the sick Big Girl has is that she is known as a "floater." Her rear-end will not stay down, making diving and eating extremely difficult. On page 205 on the "medical log" notation it says, "Observed turtle sleeping on the bottom of the tank, completely submerged. At last, Big Girl! TS" Ten pages later an entire chapter is devoted to trying to figure out how the problem of Big Girl's floating can be solved! In places it was difficult to decide who was speaking because of the punctuation and/or grammer. There were words with letters missing. . . this kind of stuff distracts me. There was one piece worth quoting from the book. Toy and Ethan were talking about how if buildings are left unattended long enough nature will recalaim them. Toy says, "That's kind of sad."Ethan responds, "I don't think so. It gives us a better perspective of our place. We hold hour history so dear, our politics so tight. But in the fullnes of time, alll histories fade. Rome, Ephesus, the Incan and Myan clutures. The wheel of time turns round and round and proves change is part of nature. Our failures are humbling. The more I learn, the more I see that, in the end, nature will prevail." What interesting discussions could be seeded from that quote."The best part of the story was the community of the women who loved and supported one another to the end.

In this sequel to The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe, it has been five years since the passing of Miss Lovie Rutledge. Toy Sooner and her daughter, Little Lovie are living in Primrose Cottage on the beach where Miss Lovie fiercely cared for and tended to her Loggerhead Turtles. Every year, the turtle ladies, watched for the migration of the mama turtles coming ashore to nest and lay their golf-ball sized eggs. Since Miss Lovie's death, Toy has gone on to college, graduated, and secured a life for her and her daughter. She works as an aquarist at the Aquarium. She hasn't seen her deadbeat boyfriend since he left her on the steps of a shelter after giving birth to Little Lovie. Toy has found comfort, safety and love with the women of this town and they have become her family. Cara (Miss Lovie's daughter), along with her husband, Brett rent out the beach house to her. Flo, the elderly next door neighbor is a godsend and reliable babysitter, and Emmi has a heart of gold. Toy is not ready to love again, but unexpectedly finds a soul mate in Ethan Legare. Slowly, they build a loving and seemingly unbreakable relationship, when out of the blue, Little Lovie's biological father shows up on Toy's doorstep. Her world is turned upside down. Just as the loggerhead turtles must find their way in darkness and uncertainly, but with an instinct for preservation, Toy, too, summons up courage and fortitude to build a loving and comfortable home for herself, Little Lovie and incredibly, the patient and sensible Ethan.
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Tom Long
One of the things I love about Monroe is her sense of place. The coastal Carolinas have a unique, provincial charm and Monroe is the queen of communicating that. In the course of telling her story, Monroe delivers quite a bit of knowledge about the challenges of protecting the habitat of sea turtles both with regard to protecting the nests and anthropogenic ocean threats. The focus of the story is on the friendship of four women of different ages and places in the social strata. The main character is this book of the series is a single mother. The greatest weakness of the story is that the bad decisions she makes in this book run counter to the idea that the influence of the women who supported her in the previous stories had any positive impact. First, we're led to care about a character and then we suffer through one bad decision after another. But the overall merits of the story and the quality of the author's voice more than compensate for this frustration. If you dream of close friends and family and a cottage by the sea, this is your book.
This is the second book I read by Mary Alice Monroe. A few very minor characters in the first book I read show up in this one as well, so you get to find out their story. Also the author is great at keeping you interested in sealife which is a huge part of her books. I never thought that sea turtles could be so fascinating, but Monroe is great at educating the reader while still keeping them interested in the novel. Like Elin Hilderbrand and Nancy Thayer, Mary Alice Monroe's books are set on an island off the East Coast. If you want to be transported to sunny small town island life than I recommend her books.
Swimming Lessons, by Mary Alice Monroe seemed to be the perfect audio book to ease into summer with. I generally love most books set on the shores of lovely South Carolina, and when I read that this one included a story about the cycle of life of the Loggerhead turtles of the Isle of Palms, it had a special meaning to me.Several years ago while on vacation, we were fortunate enough to be able to see these magnificent creatures lay their eggs along the shore. It was fascinating even though the area was later roped off as to not frighten the turtles away.In this story, we meet the Turtle Lady, Toy Spooner. She is a single mother who fled with her young daughter, Lovie, from an abusive relationship. She finds work at an aquarium, and it is here that before long we begin to see sparks between Toy and her boss Ethan. Some of the sea turtles in this story are sick and some weigh over 200 lbs. Toy is convinced to apply for a grant at the aquarium so that a turtle hospital can be set up to help these sick creatures heal.But this story has a bit more to it than just Toy, Lovie and sparks flying with Ethan. Lovie’s father comes back into the picture complicating matters, all while several of Toy’s friends are dealing with their own personal issues.Swimming Lessons is a light sort of read, in the style of Dorthea Benton Frank, or Anne Rivers Siddons. The ending was satisfying in that as the turtles begin to heal and prepare to go back out to sea, Toy, too, a once wounded woman also begins to heal.I did not realize that this story was in fact a sequel to an earlier book, The Beach House, which I never read. I don’t feel it was necessary to have read that book to appreciate this story. If you are looking for a light summer read to add to your list, give this one a try.
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