On the Backs of Waves ISBN: 9781076836984 Kindle direct publishing copyright and written by Chiara Kelly.
This book encompasses the strong emotions of several persons caught in life’s situations originating from basic physical emotions embodied within that are at war with seemingly equally powerful, more mentally based, self-fulfillment desires. Moriah, a former feature writer for a prominent New York magazine had downgraded to retain a part-time position when she married Miles, a struggling cartoonist. The union was highly satisfying and within a couple of years, she became mother to a son followed 2 years later by an adorable daughter. During this period, Miles had become a highly successful syndicated cartoonist and they had arrived at ‘the good life’ and were living in the Half Moon Bay community on the eastern shore. Unfortunately, Moriah now became acutely aware of her mundane activities as a dedicated mother and started to be a little resentful of her only part time mental activity producing material for her old employer. Thus, when a vacancy opened in her old office and her former boss thought she would be the perfect person to fill, she felt that she just had to accept the offer. During the discussion with Miles, she uttered her resentment that she had been the one in the family who had, of necessity, made all of the changes in her work life. Miles out of fairness but with some quiet reservations, agreed to her return to her earlier position and they began the search for a Nanny. Through neighbors, they found Laurel Mackintosh who was their Nanny but who would be available because they were moving away. Laura is a former Marine who had two children when raped by a Sargent who refused to marry her before being shipped to another assignment. Before delivering, she began hemorrhaging and the uterus had to be removed to save her. As fate would dictate, Virgil, the supportive medic who had assisted, later became a sailing instructor at the Yacht Basin where the Reeds and the other couple lived and a relationship was reestablished. From this somewhat entangling set of circumstances, a web of activity evolves where revelation of further details would be a definite disservice to the prospective reader.
Discussion: The actual story behind this book and the poignancy it generates is, at least for this reader, as fascinating as the tale itself. It is written by a former Marine, now married and living in Seoul, Korea with her thoughtful and supportive husband and their three sons. Most appealingly, perhaps, are in the short biographical details at the book’s conclusion where she offers: “And although unconventional, I want to thank my characters, through whom I was able to, in a sense, live vicariously through their diverse array of achievements, victories, loves, and losses. Some of which, I still long to realize myself.” She further expresses why she is grateful for each of her characters activities and especially she thanks “Laurel, as a fellow female Marine and Depression and PTSD survivor, whose loss and longing gave me a greater appreciation for my three sons, whom at times, I not only took for granted, but craved time away from in the quest for my own sanity.” Before even the book’s Prologue she has provided a most compelling description of the book’s story and combined with the short capsule of her life at the end of the story, produce a most memorable thought producing book. The opening quotes are Vincent Van Gogh’s “The heart of man is very much like the sea. It has its storms, it has its tides, And in its depths it has its pearls, too” which then are followed by the author’s dedication: “For my children, for whom no sacrifice is too great.” The two combined are predictive of the story that follows.
5* Absorbing, as explained in the discussion.