Review: The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

The Taste of Salt / Martha Southgate

Expected publication: September 13th 2011 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

* In compliance with FTC guidelines, it should be noted that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The Taste of Salt is a story of Josie and her family’s struggles with alcoholism and addiction.  Josie Henderson is a successful marine biologist originally from Cleveland, Ohio.  She now works and resides near the coast with her husband Daniel.  One day, she was asked by her mother to return to Cleveland to fetch his younger brother, Tick, from his second stint at rehab.  Addiction is not new to Josie.  Their father, a recovering alcoholic, was estranged from the family when Josie was 17.  She tried to get away from it all but it seems to be catching up on her.  Struggling with her own issues, Josie must learn to cope and open up to the people around her and make peace with those who had wronged her.

I found it easy to fall into this book.  It starts off with Josie talking about diving, the water, and marine biology — three things that are very close to my heart.  I found myself relating and agreeing with her a lot.  She’s very intelligent and practical.  I also loved her father.  Yes, he was an alcoholic but he is an example that you can overcome addiction and you can change your life.  (And I loved that he is an avid reader, too.)  I felt sorry for Daniel, especially towards the end.  He seemed like a good man but he didn’t know what to do, how to help.

The best part of the book is the writing.  It was very consistent, controlled.  I really liked the narration.  It was easy, as if Josie were telling the story over coffee on a lazy afternoon.  She broke the fourth wall a couple of times but I thought it was necessary.  She tells the story as if she was looking through the eyes of the different characters.  The author does a great job giving each character a different voice.  I connected with each of them even though I didn’t have experience with the situations they were in.  The little episodes were fast paced and it all came together very well.

This book has so much heart.  It showed how addiction affects individuals and families and it doesn’t really go away.  It’s a story of sadness and of hope and the love that prevails in all families.

Rating: 4/5.

Recommendation: It’s a perfect book club read.  A great story about family and personal struggles.

Get your copy here.



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