The Night Swim
Narrators Bailey Carr, January LaVoy, Samantha Desz
Published Aug 4, 2020
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The Night Swim was a frustrating, maddening, sad and satisfying read for me. Please note, if you do not like reading books that describe sexual assault or rape, then stay far away from this book.
There were really 3 storylines presented to the reader in this book. One for Hannah who is telling the story of what happened to her sister 20+ years before, one for Rachel, the reporter who investigates crimes and is being pursued by Hannah to tell her sisters story, and one for the podcast that Rachel presents to her listeners summarizing her investigation findings.
The uniqueness of having Rachel’s story and then her Podcast throughout the book was interesting. I quite liked it as it presented information that the story didn’t cover or it went in to more detail of information already presented to the reader. I truly felt like I was listening to a podcast in this audiobook and that was pretty cool.
The storyline with Hannah was a big bust for me however. Things just didn’t mesh up well. First Hannah pursue Rachel to request her help, then when Rachel gets interested, Hannah backs off. When she does communicate with Hannah, it’s in bits and pieces instead of just telling her the story all at once and requesting her help. It didn’t make any sense. No one would do that in reality. And it was frankly, very annoying. Add to that, when Hannah did share her information, she told it as a story with very specific scenes being fully laid out such as how she picked up a stick and ran it through the dirt as they walked down the road or describing the movie theater they went to, how the food bar was set up, how the popcorn looked like confetti on the ground, etc. If you’re trying to recruit a reporter’s help in looking into an event, none of these things would be part of your conversation. They don’t matter.
I can only attribute the story being told like this as the author wanting to take advantage of the dual timeline trend that is so popular right now. It really didn’t fit this story and felt very forced.
Having said that, the story itself, both timelines, were heartbreaking and gripping. I was so sad. Some of the events are based in reality and are a direct reflection of the failures of our legal system and small town police departments in their inability or unwillingness to hold men and boys accountable for their violent actions.
I would recommend this story but I wish it had been written or packed differently, not using the dual timeline. It just didn’t work for me.