Author: Kirsty Eagar
Publication Date: 6/29/09
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Blurb (GR): Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.
And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?
I remember this one surfer guy from 10 years ago. I was working a summer in a beach hotel in San Diego, and so was he. It was always very curious to me, how little ambition he had. He was smart and had opportunities to be promoted, to make more money, be a boss, but he always refused. When asked why, he used to say he didn't care to work more or have more responsibilities. All he wanted was to have his mornings open to surf and just enough money to pay for his beachfront apartment he shared with a roommate.
The idea seemed wild to me then and maybe now too, a little. But after reading Raw Blue I think I have a little bit better idea what it is about surfing that attracts people. The way Eagar writes about it, it is an experience, exhilarating and exciting, unlike anything in my calm daily routine (which I love, BTW). I now truly believe that this is something that can transform a person's life, make it better. And Carly, the narrator of the novel, badly needs for something good to pull her out of the abyss of her troubled past.
It is not very often that I come across an author who can capture someone's state of mind so painfully right. Carly's fears, shame, rage, the horror of her memories that come back in waves and sometimes drown her are so, so palpable! My heart broke for her, I suffocated in her pain, I rejoiced with her.
Although Carly's story is often very dark, it is, in the end, about light. Many of us have past experiences that plague us and sometimes they are so disturbing that we think we can never get away from them. But there is a lot of good things in our lives too. We just need to allow ourselves to let these good things define us, not the bad ones.