A Great Summer Read – To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal is the perfect summer read novel of unforgettable characters and secrets revealed. It is a love story of what ifs. What if one had married the first love instead of the second? What if one stayed in contact with that love? What if one never moved away? Can one go back to first love? If you go back to the first love, what happens then?

One of my favorite quotes from the novel is, “Adolescence is a skin we never quite shed.” Somehow, we all carry our adolescence with us, whether it was good or bad, happy or sad. That period of life can be quickly recalled since it really is never gone. The characters in this novel exemplify how they have never really shed that skin. It is still a living, breathing memory for them.

This is a beautiful and compelling story. It involves Judith, who at seventeen-years-old experiences the love of her life in Willy. For them, they believe that marriage is the next natural thing for them to do. However, when Judith goes off to college and Willy stays behind in Nebraska as a carpenter, Judith never looks back. She doesn’t see Willly fitting in her new life. Now in her 40s, Judith is questioning her life and marriage to Malcolm. “Our marriage, like all marriage, was happy until it wasn’t.” Judith starts to unravel in her mid-life crisis. She longs for what could have been, so she tries to go back in time and mind, and back to Nebraska and Willy.

These characters are unforgettable to me, even now. I don’t particularly like Judith and I feel sorry for Willy, who is left behind. I thought about this novel for days afterward. I know it will stay with me for a while. My heart ached for first love found, love lost, and love sustained. This quote certainly summarizes a true love, love story. “For you, I was a chapter. For me, you were the book.” Oh my heart!

A 5 shoe rating for a summer read!  If you read To Be Sung Underwater, please be sure to let me know how you liked it.

Best Reading,


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