Friday, 11 August 2017

Water in May by Ismée Williams

**I kindly received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.**

'Water in May' is about Mari Pujols, a fifteen year old girl who finds herself pregnant. Having had a not-so-easy upbringing after being abandoned by her parents; she's excited for the arrival of her baby boy. She's prepared to shower him with the unconditional love she's never had. Doctors however soon discover that the baby has a potentially fatal heart condition. So with the help of her friends and a committed doctor, we follow her as she navigates the decisions and emotions that challenge her to grow, heal and love in a way she's never had to before. 

Our protagonist Mari, demonstrates a level of strength and emotional maturity that I'm not used to seeing in contemporaries and it was so welcomed! Even as a 15 year old character, her voice seems so bold and as a character she's quite self aware and it was super refreshing to be lead through this story by an unconventional, strong female voice. Do bear in mind though that this book is written from the point of view of a 15 year old. Now I'm not saying y'all can't talk properly buttt, the grammar and language was at times difficult to get past. That said, rather than feeling ashamed or embarrassed about her pregnancy she sort of just gets on with it and pushes through the adversity. The sisterhood is also very present here because Mari doesn't have a lot of family to rely on; it was so great to see this group of female friends be a rock and just turn out for her!

While the story isn't particularly plot driven (the majority of which takes place in a hospital) having such bold and distinctive characters kept me on board. The turmoil of Mari and the other mothers particularly, I felt was authentic and dealt with delicately; something I think can be accredited to the fact that the author herself is a doctor and could draw on these emotions from experience.

A personal stumbling block was Ismee Williams' writing style which I think will really connect with some readers, and alienate others. It includes a lot of Spanish/ Dominican slang and translations only appearing at the end. And while I understand the choice because, it does immediately throw us into this almost visceral neighbourhood; as a non Spanish speaker I did find myself pushing myself through to get to the end. As I mentioned, because the plot is pretty slow going at times it felt like hard work. 

Water in May comes out on 12th September 2017. 


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