After reading Erin Bartels, The Words Between Us, and enjoying the storyline I was sure I would also enjoy her new work. Bartels’ new book, The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water, was not what I expected and left me not wanting more. As in her first book, currents of faith or Christian perspective are either brief or missing entirely. The tone of this book is monotonous and dark. It includes scenes of child molestation, rape, other childhood trauma, and suicide. Some of these scenes are not left to your imagination and to the credit of the author’s writing ability are very emotional. To be fair, the theme of this book is taken from the author’s own experiences and I do not want to diminish or downplay what she is trying to convey.
While I don’t solely read Christian fiction, the publisher of this book is a Christian publisher that I review for often. So, I do feel as though this book will become problematic in that category for reasons mentioned above – lack of spiritual connection, descriptive scenes on triggering topics and other situations like teens drinking and smoking. Some reviews of this book will be based on a worldly view and not a spiritual view – mine is based on being published by a Christian publisher. Many readers will not realize that this book is not in that genre and will be shocked when diving into the pages.
All in all this is not a book that I would recommend to Christian fiction readers or those who may be triggered by traumatic experiences.