Alexandra McCann

XXXVI: Angels Can't Swim: A Novel (Review)

Written by: Alexandra McCann
Published by: Kindle Direct Publishing


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What a book.

When I received the offer to review this book, I was apprehensive. Mainly because I am very picky about what I choose to leisure read since I rarely, if ever, get the opportunities to read for fun. But, once I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

This book follows the lives of the three main characters: Jenna, Maggie and Eden who are college swimmers ranging from not-too-shabby to absolutely amazing at the sport. But, apart from that aspect of their lives, they're tackling other monsters that threaten to change the lives that they've grown comfortable with.  

As Far As Length Is Concerned:

I actually read this book while flying from California to Colorado, so, for those of you that have made that flight, you know that that’s a short and sweet read on a short and sweet flight (thank you Southwest). 

The book is 100 pages total and 16 chapters long. It is definitely a short read, but it covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. 

My Initial Thoughts:

When I started the book, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t stick. I thought that I just wasn’t going to get into it. Alexandra McCann has a style of writing that is different from anything else that I am used to, so it was very tough for me to see past that. 

I thought that the structuring throughout the chapters was oftentimes confusing (which is why I initially thought that I wouldn't make it through). What I mean here is that, a chapter would start from one character's perspective and then three dots would appear and the topics would drastically change, or all three characters would randomly be included in the new storyline altogether. It was initially off-putting but, once I made it to the end of the book, it seemed more worth the read than when I started. 

Another thing that threw me off originally was that fact that, in the chapters, the stories seemed to be from a weird perspective. One minute, it would be from the perspective of the lead character of the chapter and the next minute, it'd be the perspective of a removed narrator. It confused me a bit, but I could see the difficulty in writing from different perspectives (first person vs. third person vs. omniscient). It seems like a confusing process of writing and editing, but, once learned, it would definitely come in handy for future works. 

But, apart from that, my thoughts went straight to the themes introduced! 

The Standout Themes:

This book covered a number of themes. It definitely did not do in-depth discussions on the themes, but, it did enough to support each character’s storyline and give the reader the understanding that they required. 

Maggie was a Christian-raised character that struggled after finding what she thought was love, losing it, and ending up with an unexpected surprise that would forever change her life.

Jenna was an all-star with a tight-knit relationship with her swim coach, who internally struggled with a need to be loved, accepted and wanted which ended with her in more trouble than what she initially bargained for. 

And Eden was a young woman struggling with the ideas of what a woman should be and who a woman should love. Her life took a huge 180 spin when she discovered the one thing that would change her thoughts, attitude and perspective -- therapy.

Somehow, within 100 pages, Alexandra McCann managed to intertwine three different worlds all while discussing friendship, religion, love, unplanned pregnancy, family dynamics, sexuality, mental health, and inappropriate relationships that oftentimes occur behind the scenes on collegiate sports teams.

Tips, If Any, To The Author On Her Next Book:

Because I am not an author of this sort just yet, I don't really have any tips for Ms. McCann. I believe that publishing a work of art like a book, for instance, is an amazing and enormous task, and it's one that I haven't yet taken on (although I have been in the process of writing for years now).

I cannot relate on this level of artistry just yet, so I can only congratulate the author on, first, writing the book, and second seeking out publishing options, and then finally PUBLISHING HER BOOK. 

Overall, I think that this work is amazing. It will be another helpful work for the LGBT community, as well as the mental health advocates. 

Alexandra, congrats on this amazing feat! You did a great job.