Review: Let Me Be Like Water, by S.K. Perry

I've been remiss in writing here, or sharing reviews, or doing much of anything. I suspect I'll pick this little blog up again eventually--I always do--but in the meantime, I'm hoping to at least share reviews I've written for other sites for the books I'm really loving lately. Here's the first of what I hope will be many more. Reprinted from Shelf Awareness with permission.

book cover of Let Me Be Like Water by S.K. Perry with a blue ocean horizon and a kite in the air

Let Me Be Like Water is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of young love and young loss. A meditation on grief and what could have been, S.K. Perry's debut offers glimpses of the sometimes magical ways the world works when life is shattered and we're left with nothing but the pieces.
Months after the sudden and unexpected death of her boyfriend, Holly leaves London, a city filled with memories of her lover, Sam, "our residue on pavements and seats of buses," for the seaside town of Brighton. The move gives Holly more than the space to think and heal, however. It brings her Frank, a retired magician who, in his lovingly odd way, "collects" lonely people. And she finds new friends and a cold sea, and "by the water it really does feel like things will be alright."

There are any number of novels about loss. But Let Me Be Like Water is distinctive in its poetic and vivid language, which Perry uses to bring Holly's emotional roller-coaster to life on the page. Moreover, it focuses on the loss of a young life in particular. Readers' hearts break not only for Holly's immediate loss, but for the loss of all that a future with Sam may have held: a marriage, possible children, any number of small moments of intimacy. In place of all the things that can't be known about that lost future, we get what is left: raw, unadulterated grief; desperate, clinging loneliness; and a small ray of hope in the form of good friends and good food. Perry is a voice to be watched--in this case, watched through blurred tears with a box of tissues at hand.
tl;dr: A beautiful tale of young love and young loss, and the magical powers of friendship to heal broken hearts.


Let Me Be Like Water | S.K. Perry | Melville House | Trade Paper | August 2018 | 224 pgs | Buy now from an independent bookstore near you

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