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The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer

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In The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, a detailed novel about obligations and self-discovery, Ann Packer weaves a story full of choices about a 23-year-old woman coping with her fiancé’s accident that leaves him paralyzed. Beginning with the pivotal scene of the accident, Parker develops an in-depth character that “carries” the novel through personal progressions.
Carrie, a bemused woman in marriage with an amazing memory and the protagonist of the story, witnesses her fiancé dive into a too shallow lake and become paralyzed. After that day, Carrie progressed in slow motion. It took a long time to release the pent up guilt and cry. A conflict arose over whether Carrie still loved Mike and wanted to be with him. Carrie questioned staying in Wisconsin with Mike or running away.
Turns out New York City was Carrie’s best bet at the time in order to escape and eventually accept the accident. Carrie made new friends and started her life over, dating a mysterious, older guy. She began realizing that NYC made her happy. However, Mike often ran through her mind. How does Carrie resolve her perplexed thoughts? Should she fix her issues back home and make amends or stay with a boyfriend who does not open up to her? Does Carrie choose the right thing?
The reader can truly feel the conflicts within Carrie’s character. The details are so strongly written that the reader can almost feel like the decisions are theirs. Compare the distinction between “who you want to be to others and who you must be for yourself?” Sometimes thinking about oneself can be the easy way out, but it can’t always be the right thing. The conclusion of the book enlightens the reader on how Carrie answers such a question and maybe that’s the answer you would choose too.





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