Book Review: The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

    Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill         Published Sept 13, 2011                  272 Pages

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Published Sept 13, 2011
272 Pages

Powerful story but too many things left unsaid.

Josie Henderson is an African American woman who loves the water. She spent her entire life trying to know the ins and outs of the water and ultimately became a marine biologist-actually-the only African American senior-level scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

But Josie isn’t as successful as she believes. Yes, she has the career and a white husband but she left home running away from her father, her brother, who struggle with addiction and her mother who watched it all happen and was too late to help.

With her brother’s latest stunt of Rehab over things fall apart more quickly than anyone, especially Josie, anticipates.

Told in four different voices this was a good book. It was also believable to the point that you believe this is book is someone’s’ life story.  You see the struggle with all the characters and their lives, past and present. But even with that there are things that I didn’t quite understand. Why did her brother begin drinking and using? What happened to him that caused him to begin drinking? He was married with a house, car and a good job. Josie didn’t fall to addiction because of what she saw however she had other problems.

Also I didn’t understand Josie. I get the fact she was running away from home and avoiding. I even kind of get the fact she didn’t want to have children. What I didn’t get was how she was treating her husband. She married a white man but then turned around and complained about him not understanding her culture or music after she meets a black male who is on the same career level as her. She doesn’t tell her husband anything but opens up to another male both physically and emotionally mainly because she felt a connection to him because he was black.

As in for things left unsaid I wanted to know what her brother couldn’t face. His father was able to get clean but he couldn’t why? What happen to Josie? She was a mess in a half.  Also what happen with Josie and her husband? He knew something was going on but didn’t bluntly say anything.

As for the writing there were no issues. Southgate drew me in well mainly because beyond the addiction it wasn’t a book talking about how Josie fell off the track and had to pick herself up right or even her brother for the time. They both got into a really good high school on scholarship, graduated and went to college. I loved that because although there was issues at home and hint of teasing at school the book didn’t stress a past struggle outside the addiction running in the family.

Overall this book gets 9 out of 10. I love when all I can complain about is the characters themselves and not the writing.

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