In At The Deep End – Audiobook Review
In At The Deep End is a debut contemporary novel with LGBTQIAP+ rep, which I was first alerted to by a fellow book blogger. Although I couldn’t remember what the book was about, I knew I wanted to read it and so couldn’t resist picking it up when it was the Audible deal of the day.
“Until recently, Julia hadn’t had sex in three years.
a one-night stand is accusing her of breaking his penis;
a sexually confident lesbian is making eyes at her over confrontational modern art;
and she’s wondering whether trimming her pubes makes her a bad feminist.
Julia’s about to learn that she’s been looking for love – and satisfaction – in all the wrong places….”
Title: In At The Deep End
Author: Kate Davies
Narrator: Lucy Briggs-Owen
Released: 21st February 2019
Length: 10 hrs 46
Trigger Warnings: Self harm, drug misuse, heavy sexual content, abusive relationships
In At The Deep End is a gripping and hilarious contemporary debut from a very talented new author. It covers a whole host of relationship, identity and sexual topics with quick both quick wit and genuine thought.
Julia is a fantastic protagonist who easily draws the reader to her. She is both likeable and intelligent but most importantly, she is realistic. At every point in the book I could understand why she makes the decisions she does. I really enjoyed being in her head as she discovers a new part of her identity. I think that Julia’s character development in the novel is extremely strong throughout.
All of the characters in In At The Deep End are very well written. I really like Alice, Julia’s best friend, as she reminds me of my old uni friend. Eric plays a small but wonderful part and I love the way that he is utilised. Sam, a butch lesbian artist, is a fantastic character and Kate Davies has done a wonderful job writing her relationship with Julia. It is really hard to discuss Sam without giving away spoilers so I will simply say that she is very cleverly written.
The main theme in the book is identity and exploring who you are. A big part of that for Julia is learning where she is on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum. One part of the book that particularly resonates with me is her discussion of potentially being bisexual. Especially the thought process behind not knowing if you fancy someone or just really want to be them. She talks about a lot of fears that are common to the LGBTQIAP+ community before coming out. I really like how the book explores the difference between trying new things and being adventurous to learn different parts of yourself versus crossing lines that make you uncomfortable to please other people or because you feel that you have to.
In At The Deep End certainly explores a variety of different relationships. I found it very interesting to read a novel containing polyamorous relationships. I hesitate to comment as to the accuracy of portrayal as it is not something that I have experienced personally but there are certainly both pros and cons highlighted. Friendship is certainly a theme and all of the smaller characters that Julia meets are very interesting.
Sex plays a big role throughout the novel. There are pretty hardcore scenes, including sex clubs & BDSM. This is definitely an adult book and if you dislike sex scenes then this book is not for you. I also advise checking trigger warnings and if you are in doubt, please feel free to message me.
Narration & Style
Lucy Briggs-Owen’s narration is exceptional. She is clear, well paced and does a great job of voicing multiple characters so distinctly. I absolutely fell in love with the witty one liners that feature throughout the novel and are usually part of Julia’s thoughts. I was immediately reminded me of Helen Fielding’s voice in Bridget Jones’ Diary. It was only after I had finished reading that I discovered book is described as:
” A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)”
Kate Davies is a very talented author who knows how to grip her audience.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to In At The Deep End, completing the book in record time. The whole book feels like a journey that, like the protagonist, you are swept up in. I love a book that makes me laugh and think at the same time, which this certainly did. There are plenty of plot twists and I can honestly say that the book was not what I was expecting. I will definitely be picking up whatever Kate Davies’ publishes next!
I highly recommend the audio version of In At The Deep End. If you prefer to read it for yourself however then please consider using my affiliate link for the Book Depository here. I would really appreciate it <3