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Elisabeth W. (Durham, NC)
Lots of Rowing, but not much else
I enjoy a book where I learn something new. With Flat Water Tuesday, I enjoyed learning about the intricacies of rowing. I expected this book to include more about the boarding school experience, but the Fenton School was barely a backdrop, which disappointed me. At times it was hard to understand the characters' motivation (Why is Rob so competitive with Connor? Why did he run out on the frozen river?) Though I enjoyed the book, it would have been much richer for me with more presence of the boarding school and more specific insight into Rob's motivations.
Cheryl B. (La Porte, TX)
A promising novel that falls short of expectations
This book focuses around a rowing group at Fenton Prep school. Upon invitation to his 15th year anniversary, the protagonist, Rob Carrey, has flashbacks between his current life and his rowing days, where something went quite wrong. Carrey is a scholarship kid, a scull rower and is used to rowing alone and not in a team environment. Parts of this book were beautifully written, but some of the scenes dragged. I especially felt Ruth, Conner, and the last person of the God Four team is so flatly developed that I can't even recall his name or any one thing that stood out about him.
Kristen H. (Hagerstown, MD)
This book was so so, had a different impression when I selected this book. I did not like how it jumped back and forth. It took me a while to read it and get into it. I would have to say this last 10 chapters was better and it moved along quickly. Not a book I would recommend and I do have knowledge of crewing.
Kimberly H. (Stamford, CT)
Even though the writing is overly descriptive regarding the rowing, I thoroughly enjoyed this well written saga of prep school boys, their cantankerous coach and the event that changed all of their lives. The writer obviously knows his subject matter. Well done and highly recommended.
Christina C. (Powells Point, NC)
A little slow going, but worth it
I really found this book interesting because it focused on things I don't know about - rowing, and National Geographic film making. Both were fascinating to learn about. At times I really felt like I was in the sweaty exercise room, one of the team. Or I felt like I was in the studio apartment with cabin fever from hours of editing.
Angela J. (Highlands Ranch, CO)
I did find parts kind of slow going. We didn't need to hear about every.single.stroke of an exercise, or we didn't need to know excessive details (like about the shed, for example) that weren't pertinent to the storyline. The middle of the book had the feeling of a movie that ran about 30 minutes longer than it should have, in my opinion.
I thought the beginning was brilliant. You were hooked immediately and you knew the story was going to culminate and explain this big secret that rowing team shared with a dramatic climax.
I loved learning about the team members and I loved that the storyline kept switching to keep your attention and leave you wondering. We were looking at Rob's present with Carolyn, the past with Carolyn, his past at the school, his past with his family, and eventually the present at school, with the team, and with Carolyn at once.
As tiring as parts of the middle were, I'm glad I stuck it out. It was a great book I'm glad to have finished. I finished a few days ago and find myself missing the characters and the team's practice and progress.
I felt like I have read a hundred books similar to this. Do we really need another coming of age book? It's the same old story about a poor kid on a scholarship getting to mingle with the rich privileged kids. I found all of the back and forth very distracting; with a lot of unnecessary detail trying to add drama and atmosphere. After all this buildup, the ending was extremely disappointing; I found I really didn't like the adult Carrey.
Diana J. (Highland Falls, NY)
Slow moving, but worth it
This book was a surprise...it started out slow (the letter at the beginning piques your interest) but the details about crew were slowish. But toward the middle it picks up, and you get swept into the lives of the main characters. It's written from two viewpoints-the past and the present, interwoven into several members of the rowing crew and their experiences at an upper crust prep school. Rob and John, both members of the crew, meet, are on the same team, and become involved in a tragedy which affects both their lives. It's not just a book about sports, so don't let that stop you from reading it. It is a book about how the sport cements relationships, and teaches lessons for the future. As I said, it started out slow, but it picks up in the middle and the ending is definitely worth it. I recommend it.
Debra P. (Belmont, NC)
Flows like water
Love this book. the writing flows like the boats in a rowing contest!!! The style of going from past to present pretty much keeps me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend for book group discussions.