Oceana: A Love Story is aptly titled. The main plot focuses on a romantic relationship, but the story includes so many other kinds of love as well: love of nature, lost love, remembered love, passion for life, and more. It is also obvious that the author loves her subject. Every page makes it clear that this story is very important to Lindh, and that, in turn, makes it more important to the reader.
The book follows Oceana, a surfer with a traumatic past, and her new neighbor Guy as they meet and develop a serious relationship. Problems arise when Oceana begins exhibiting symptoms of early-onset dementia, and the couple must cope with both the immediate problems and the future possibilities.
This is a tender story that spurs contemplation of love, life, death, and personal passions. Unfortunately, it is not without its flaws. A story of this scope could easily fill a novel, and the brevity of Oceana means that some parts are skipped over or not fully explored. For example, when Oceana and Guy meet, she is hostile towards him. She later slams her door in his face. Then, just a few pages later, she teaches him to surf and invites him to dinner. This quick change in feeling seems rushed and unrealistic. The book could definitely benefit from added exposition.
Also, the writing is a little stilted. It feels like the author wants to be so sure that the readers understand everything exactly as she imagines it that, in the parts of the relationship that she does show us, she includes excessive descriptions. This keeps readers focused on the minutiae and prevents us from becoming fully involved in the story.
That said, the more I look back on the book, the more I like it. As the particulars of the writing fade, and I am left with the plot and emotions of the tale, I find that the heart of the story is beautiful. This would be a great book for teenagers or for anyone who enjoys details but does not need an in-depth exploration of larger themes.
Lastly, at the end of her book, Lindh asks readers to support organizations that focus on dementia. Through this story, she certainly draws attention to the importance of dementia research and care, and, for that, I say this book is a success.
Sponsored Book Review