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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Water Lessons is a contemporary fiction novel written by Chadwick Wall. Jim grew up in a small town not far from New Orleans, and defied his father in order to find and make sure his old friend Freddy was prepared for the storm. Freddy's family had already evacuated, and he and Jim prepared to sit out Hurricane Katrina. As the waters rose, the two men sat up on the roof of Jim's grandfather's house and waited for help. Jim was airlifted and accepted a friend's invitation to stay with him up in New England. He ended up in Boston, working as a successful broker and dating the daughter of Walter, the president of the brokerage, but his heart was not in the routine of the business. When Walter offered him the chance to run his boatyard, Jim jumped at the chance.
Chadwick Wall's contemporary historical novel, Water Lessons, is a profoundly moving account of a young Hurricane Katrina survivor's efforts to rebuild his life after the storm. His past is harrowing, especially those initial endless hours when he and Freddy were waiting on the roof, which are relived over and over in Jim's dreams and with each new acquaintance's questions. Wall's plot is compelling and marvelous, filled with the scents and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean, and accompanied by the tantalizing New England seafood menu: chowders, lobsters, clams of all sorts, as Jim experiences his new environment. Jim's mentor and friend, Walter, is larger than life and a character I won't be forgetting any time soon. There's so much to love about Water Lessons. I was swept up initially in Wall's descriptions of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and later in the accounts of Jim's Atlantic adventures, and I savored every minute I spent reading this story. Water Lessons is an extraordinarily good novel, and author Chadwick Wall is quite a gifted writer. Water Lessons is most highly recommended.