In the Deep End Book Review

Thank you to Kate Davies, HMH Books, and Bookish for sending me an advanced reading copy of this book.

I had the chance to read a short excerpt from In the Deep End on Bookish and then write my first thoughts in order to enter a giveaway for this book. I read that first chapter and instantly wanted more, that first chapter grabs you and already has you rooting for Julia before you even really know her. I was glad to receive a copy so that I could read more instead of waiting for so long to find out what ever happens to Julia.

This book tells the story of a woman, Julia, who was looking for love in a all of the wrong places. Fortunately the wrong places were just men and after a one night encounter with a woman Julia declares herself a lesbian. She instantly emerges herself into the Lesbian scene where she meets Sam, her soon to be girlfriend.

TW: Abuse, Drugs and Alcohol

Before I begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book I think something I kept in mind when reading was that this was meant to be humorous and not taken seriously. I think at first I started taking some things seriously and had I not reminded myself of that fact I would’ve put this book away. Julia suddenly becoming a lesbian was taken as a joke not just by Julia but by everyone around her. So when you read it just know it’s an enjoyable light not to be taken seriously.

Normally I would read the description of this book, get embarrassed and put it down looking for something a lot tamer but after reading one chapter I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t even put it down once I read more so I put my embarrassment aside and read it everywhere that I went. Who cared that my face would betray me and let everyone know that I was reading something that made me blush? When you enjoy a book you want the world to know and read along with you.

I love how the author describes each scene as if you are a fly on the wall watching Julia’s every action but not only do you see the scenes you even get to know what’s happening in the mind of Julia. I really liked the fact the story was told in first person because it made everything sound so personal, it was as if I was reading this woman’s diary entries.

Now these thoughts were all my opinions based on the first half of the book, you know before things got serious with Sam. Let me give you all what I think about the book during the second half.

There were red flags from the instant that Julia got with Sam and all of the people surrounding her were warning her about the way that Sam was manipulating her. Julia failed to see any of this because she was so in love with Sam and while I was disturbed by Sam’s actions I understood Julia’s feelings. It was a good portrayal of what it is like to be enamored with someone to the point that you excuse their abusive tendencies and manipulative behavior.

While I understood Julia’s response to Sam’s behavior I still wasn’t fond of it. I found those parts difficult to read because it sounded very much like things were taken as a joke, like you were supposed to find humor in Sam’s behavior and Julia’s response. I did not like how so much of the sexual scenes were not based on consent from Julia and how the novel made it seem that this was just the way it is for poly-amorous couples and anyone in the BDSM scene.

There’s a scene near the ending of the book that actually stuck with me and I was glad it was included. Julia talks about having nightmares about Sam and she says “it’s hard to accept that you’re the villain in someone else’s story.” I really resonated with this scene and found that it was a nice way for Julia to deal with that break up.

I think that people will enjoy this book if they can ignore some of the parts that made me cringe and just take it for a light read. I think you need to make sure that you just read this as a humorous novel before anything else. Don’t take any of what you learn about polyamorous couples or BDSM from this book to heart because this is one fictional experience and while it may mirror some people’s experience in the end it still is 1 experience.

About the Book: A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)

Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough.

So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where “trendy people who have lots of sex might go on a Friday night”—she readily accepts. Whom she meets there, however, is surprising: a conceptual artist, also a woman.

Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life, as she coins it, is exhilarating. She finds her tribe at queer swing dancing classes, and guided by her new lover Sam, she soon discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs, and . . . the complexities of polyamory. Soon it becomes clear that Sam needs to call the shots, and Julia’s newfound liberation comes to bear a suspicious resemblance to entrapment . . . 

In at the Deep End is an unforgettably frank, funny, and racy odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous—and more often, absurd—path to love and self.

About the Author: Kate Davies was born and brought up in north-west London. She studied English at Oxford University before becoming a writer and editor of children’s books. She also writes comedy scripts, and had a short-lived career as a burlesque dancer that ended when she was booed off stage at a Conservative club, dressed as a bingo ball. Kate lives in east London with her wife. In at the Deep End is her debut novel.

About the Book and About the Author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.