Monday, July 11, 2011

Review of To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

To Be Sung Underwater
By: Tom McNeal

About the book:Judith Whitman always believed in the kind of love that "picks you up in Akron and sets you down in Rio." Long ago, she once experienced that love. Willy Blunt was a carpenter with a dry wit and a steadfast sense of honor. Marrying him seemed like a natural thing to promise. But Willy Blunt was not a person you could pick up in Nebraska and transport to Stanford. When Judith left home, she didn't look back.

Twenty years later, Judith's marriage is hazy with secrets. In her hand is what may be the phone number for the man who believed she meant it when she said she loved him. If she called, what would he say? To Be Sung Underwater is the epic love story of a woman trying to remember, and the man who could not even begin to forget.

Review by Kelsey G.
It has taken some thinking, but I believe I've finally concluded that I like this book. The love story is accurately described as "epic" and the characters feel very real and genuine. It is easy to take a genuine liking to the heroine. Other reviews have been rather liberal in their praise of Mr. McNeal's work, and while I may not share their level of enthusiasm, I agree that this book is worthwhile. The drawback is that it takes a rather long time for the main love story to actually begin. This book is a very meandering read, the first half is such that it must be endured. If you are a fan of fast-paced action and dialogue, skip this book. If you enjoy detailed character portraits and prose that is largely introspective, this may be your next favorite read! I must admit, the last half is truly touching. Mr. McNeal has a very solid grasp of human relationships, and the undercurrents of emotion that drive our every decision. The arena of marriage is presented from two viewpoints: we watch Judith as a child witness the dissolution of her parents' marriage, and years later, the tension of her own "comfortable" marriage escalate.

I would liken this book to a rollercoaster, with a very gradual incline, and then a giant rush to an emotional and dramatic end. If you have the time (and patience) this book is worth it! I give it 3 out of 5 stars.


  1. Thank you for the review. Pretty book cover.
    Sue B

  2. I love reading books where the characters feel very real and genuine. Thanks for your review.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com