She is too rich

The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners - Luanne Rice

A soap opera of the worst kind in book format. Every character is suffering terrible tragedies, dead bodies pile in their past, deceptions are exposed, emotions are exploding, and everyone is filthy rich.

I didn’t like this novel. It’s written very well – this author is a master of beautiful prose – but one of the protagonists, Lyra, vexed me so much, I had trouble finishing the book. It might be personal, but let me explain.

Lyra is an heiress from America. She got married to a nice guy, had two wonderful children, and suffered horribly from depression. When her oldest daughter Pell was six, Lyra left her family, left America, and settled on the Isle of Capri to find herself. Ten years later, Pell comes to Capri to get her mother back. Then they do the mutual understanding and forgiveness routine with Capri in the background: the sea, the sun, the dolphins. That’s the plot.

What got my hackles up was the fact that they are all so wealthy. They don’t know what real problems are. Money, especially big money they have, cushion their every difficulty. So Lyra had depression. Too bad. I know about depression. I had it too. Still do, although I’m managing it better now.

At some point in my life, when both my kids were teenagers, I was diagnosed with depression. It was so bad, I was suicidal, just like Lyra. But unlike her, I didn’t have a safety net. I was a single mother, and my parents and other relatives lived a world away, on another continent.

Furthermore, I didn’t have much money. I worked for a living, unlike poor suffering Lyra who couldn’t cope with her charity projects. Did I want to leave the kids – both of them had tons of trouble in high school – and go away? Oh, yeah! But I couldn’t and I didn’t, because they didn’t have anyone else. It was a simple equation: if not me then nobody.

If I left them or killed myself, they would’ve gone to the foster system, and even in my depressed state I knew it would’ve been worse for them. I didn’t have a choice. I had to keep going, depression or not. Most people of middle class are in the same boat. Depression or not, suicidal thoughts or not, we just muddle through, one step at a time. We don’t have the luxury of abandoning our kids and haring off on a self-exploration quest. On a gorgeous Italian island. So I don’t have much sympathy for the millionaire woman who left her two kindergarten-age kids to go live on Capri and search for herself.