"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
Carry The Ocean by Heidi Cullinan is a wonderful book about two boys falling in love with each other. But what makes this book stand out, are the main characters. Emmet Washington is a college student double majoring in math and computer science. But he is also autistic. Jeremy Samson on the other hand just finished high school and while he seems ‘normal’ on the outside, he is suffering under major depression and panic attacks.
The two boys are falling in love.
Their love for each other is truly special and heart-warming. The whole book is written beautifully and Cullinan handles both issues very sensitively. I feel like she researched well and presented both conditions very realistically.
The only problem I had with this book was that I was not in the mood for it. I know it is not the book’s or the author’s fault but I read it at the wrong time. When you look at the reviews for this book you will see people raving about it. I know and understand why they do that but the book fell flat for me.
I could not relate to the characters at all. And since I was in the wrong mood, I could not feel for them. I had less problems with Emmet. He appeared very mature. He learned to handle his autistic tendencies and tried to solve problems as they came up. Since he was very smart he had a broad understanding on how things worked and what was going on even though he could not always ‘act’ normal. His biggest problem was the ‘social part’ in our society. The communication, reading expressions, understanding hidden meanings in speech. I found his explanations why he acted and saw the things the way he did very interesting.
On the other hand I found myself very insensitive towards Samson. I know he had depression and I know it is a disease and he can’t help himself, but I couldn’t stand his constant whining about ‘being normal’. I know people with depression can’t just get over themselves and that was not my problem. I understand the disease depression, I just did not like the character Samson. While Emmet recognized his problems, analyzed them, and then tried to find a way to handle them in real life, Samson just wailed all the time that he wanted to be normal. It drove me nuts. And knowing that I could not emphasize with him at all, showed me that I was reading this book at the wrong time.
I still recommend Carry The Ocean. It is a romance novel but the focus is heavy on the boy’s conditions. If you enjoy this kind of books this is a must-read, if not, stay away.