Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara
Reviewed by Jessica
Truly a magnificent piece of art, Amy McNamara’s Lovely, Dark and Deep strikes a chord that resonates deep within. I fell deeply in love with this book because, quite simply, it is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read. The story follows eighteen year old Wren who recently lost her boyfriend in a car crash. Moving in with her artistic father in the woods of Maine, Wren loses herself to the world around her as she tries to find a place to become blank, void of every emotion. Never have I come across a book that has been able to manifest loss and despair in such a palpable way,
“I came here because it’s pine-dark and the ocean is wild. The kind of quiet-noise you need when there’s too much going on in your head. Like the water and the woods are doing all the feeling, and I can hang out, quiet as a headstone, in a between place. A blank I can bear.”
There’s something to be said about the quiet that creeps up on you and covers you when you’re alone and deep inside a forest, especially in winter. McNamara does a stunning job in depicting Wren’s all consuming devotion to nature and trying to find a place where she can lose herself. Wren desperately wants to become a blank void where nothing is able to break down the walls she’s built around herself. In Lovely, Dark and Deep you can feel the cold and dark surround you. You can feel Wren in the woods, so alive yet so quiet. Each time in the story when memory surfaces and threatens to tear her wall apart you can almost feel her bury herself under the snow because it’s so very quiet. You don’t have to explain yourself because you’re deep inside nature’s womb. But if you stay too long, the weight of it all will push you down and quiet you forever. Lovely, Dark and Deep is, in its entirety, quite a stunning accomplishment. The story is at once heartbreaking and uplifting, as Wren cycles through her grief and loss and steps into a place of recovery and new love.
Utterly brilliant, Lovely, Dark and Deep sheds light on grief and how lost we can become trying to make a barricade against our feelings so we don’t fall apart, but it also delivers an uplifting touch in revealing how certain people are able to relight the flames that were extinguished by grief. I highly recommend this book. It is definitely not just for young adults; I believe it’s for every person who has had to overcome a great sadness in their life. Please give it a fair go, I sincerely doubt you will be able to put it down.
Copies of Lovely, Dark and Deep are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.