BOOK REVIEW: RIPTIDES BY KIRSTEN ALEXANDER – KIDDO Mag
Book Review: Riptides by Kirsten Alexander
Riptides is a novel written by Kirsten Alexander, an Australian author who has just released her second book. The novel is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1970s and follows the intertwined lives of three characters: a young girl named Abbey, her brother Laurence, and a boy named Miles.
The novel explores themes of guilt, grief, and the complexities of family relationships. It also delves into the political and social changes occurring in Australia during the 1970s, including the rise of feminism, the Vietnam War and its impact on young men, and the growing awareness of environmental issues.
Main Themes and Ideas
Throughout Riptides, Alexander explores the theme of guilt and its impact on the characters and their relationships. Abbey bears the burden of guilt for her role in a tragic accident that left her brother permanently disabled. Her guilt drives her to seek redemption and drives the plot of the novel.
The novel also explores the theme of grief and the different ways people cope with loss. Laurence, Abbey’s brother, is unable to move past the accident and his disability, while Abbey uses her guilt as a way to cope.
Another theme explored is the complexity of family relationships. The siblings’ relationship is strained by their different ways of coping with the accident, and Miles’ dysfunctional family adds to the complexity of the novel’s family dynamics.
Alexander also touches on political and social issues of the 1970s, including the impact of the Vietnam War on young men and the growing awareness of environmental issues. These issues are woven into the novel’s plot and add depth to the characters and their motivations.
Writing Style and Message Delivery
Alexander writes in an engaging and descriptive way that allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story’s setting and atmosphere. The prose is rich and vivid, with detailed descriptions of the Australian landscape and the characters’ emotions and inner struggles.
However, at times the novel can be slow-paced, and the plot seems to meander without a clear direction. The story is told through alternating perspectives between the three main characters, which can be confusing at times and disrupt the flow of the narrative.
Overall, Alexander effectively delivers her message of the complexities of guilt, grief, and family relationships. She uses vivid imagery and symbolism to convey the characters’ emotional struggles and the impact of their past actions on their present lives.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Riptides’ greatest strength is its exploration of complex themes and the emotional depth of its characters. The novel also has a strong sense of place, and Alexander skillfully conveys the atmosphere and landscape of 1970s Sydney.
However, the novel’s slow pacing and meandering plot can be frustrating for readers. Also, the use of alternating perspectives can be confusing and disrupt the flow of the narrative.
Comparison to Other Works in its Genre
Riptides can be compared to other works of literary fiction that explore complex family relationships and themes of grief and guilt, such as The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold or The Secret History by Donna Tartt. However, Riptides stands out for its unique setting and exploration of 1970s Australia and the political and social issues of the time.
Overall Impression and Recommendation
Riptides is an emotionally engaging and thought-provoking novel that explores complex themes of guilt, grief, and family relationships. Alexander’s vivid prose and atmospheric descriptions create a rich and immersive reading experience.
However, the novel’s slow pacing and meandering plot may not be appealing to all readers. If you enjoy literature that delves into complex emotions and relationships and has a strong sense of place, then Riptides is definitely worth a read.
What is the genre of Riptides?
Riptides is a work of literary fiction.
Where is Riptides set?
Riptides is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1970s.
What are the main themes of Riptides?
The main themes of Riptides are guilt, grief, and family relationships.
Is Riptides a fast-paced novel?
No, Riptides is a slow-paced novel that focuses on character development and emotional depth.
Would you recommend Riptides to others?
If you enjoy literary fiction that explores complex emotions and relationships and has a strong sense of place, then yes, I would recommend Riptides.