The Dive from Clausen's Pier
by Ann Packer

Vintage, 2001. ISBN 0375412824.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 11/30/2004

Fiction: Chick Lit

Carrie and Mike, they were a pair ever since she was thirteen. Then, after college, what everyone had expected for just about forever, they were engaged. But Carrie was having doubts about this steady, comfortable relationship, and Mike knew it. He was worried that Memorial Day when they went picnicking with friends at Clausen's Pier. He dove into the water, and their lives were changed forever.

The Dive from Clausen's Pier is Carrie's story, the story of how she struggles to be true to herself knowing what all but her mother think when she flees to New York just as Mike is reconciling himself to a life of paralysis. Ann Packer asks through Carrie, "How much do we owe the people we love?" Where in the scale of living does loyalty lie? Throughout Carrie's turmoil, her mom is there, supporting her in her doubts and decisions. And as Carrie moves into being her own self, so she leads the reader.

Packer carries the reader intimately into the scene. Almost all the Madison places she described evoked memory after memory for me from the nine years I, too, lived there. I imagine that her New York scenes were equally accurate and detailed. But one does not need to have been there because Packer makes the emotions, the changes, the places so very real.

A thoughtful, emotional work of art.

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