Life Without Water by Nancy Peacock

What a sad strange book. I started out not really liking it but then it started to grow on me. It had a good character and an interesting storyline.

Cedar was born in an old farmhouse to her mother and a man named Sol who had chosen her mother to have his baby. Her mother, still bereaved from the loss of her brother in the Vietnam war went along with the idea. But as the years passed and Cedar grew, she discovered that it was too hard to live with this pot smoking man who did nothing and left with Cedar, eventually ending up in New Mexico where she meets Daniel. Daniel is in a relationship but quickly grows to the idea of returning to the farmhouse with Cedar and her mother and living there with another couple and their children as part of a commune. But another visitor who calls herself Topaz presents trouble too and while Cedar recalls her life at the farmhouse fondly, there are some things that trouble her as well when she looks back.

Cedar is a great character. She looks at her life through a child’s eyes but is very attuned to the emotions surrounding her and the little nuances that make relationships so complicated. I also like her mother, who was a troubled young woman but seemed to do the best she could by her daughters. The other characters while important, weren’t really focused on as much and I didn’t have the same connection to them that I did to Cedar and her mother. I wasn’t very fond of Sol or Daniel, but maybe that’s to be expected from their roles in the book.

I wouldn’t say that this book had a plot per say. I wouldn’t even call it a coming of age book. It was simply Cedar telling about her childhood and her experiences. And since she lived in the time of the Vietnam war she had some interesting and sad experiences. I did feel some sadness at the plight of her mother who seemed to be striving for something that she just couldn’t attain. Sometimes I feel that way in my own life. But at least she kept trying which is always important. The pace was pretty smooth for the most part although it did have some slow parts. It was a fast and easy read but still had a good story.

I liked this book and will probably look for more by the author. She seems to have a nice tone about her and a nice way with developing characters.

Life Without Water
Copyright 1996
182 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2011

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