Title: Carry the Ocean
Series: The Roosevelt, #1
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Length: Novel (268 pages)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (April 7, 2015)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
Product Link: http://www.amazon.com/Carry-Ocean-Roosevelt-Heidi-Cullinan-ebook/dp/B00NW6FYLY
Review: I am so blown away by this book, I want to apologize in advance if I’m about to become a blubbering idiot. Rating this book 5 hearts simply doesn’t do it justice; it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. My feeling fluctuated all over the place, from a nice glowing warmth I got at the beginning when I got to meet Emmet and Jeremey, to sadness and rage at how unfair life is for people with disabilities.
This book has it all: character growth, amazing characters who learn to live with who they are, an amazing coming of age story and a support system offered by some of the greatest secondary characters ever.
This story is told in 1st person, alternating between Emmet and Jeremey so we get to know them both very well, we get to be privy to their unique way of thinking, we get a rare insight into the life of someone who’s different from the rest of the world. I honestly don’t know how this author pulled this off, but it all seems accurate and genuine, and not once did I think it’s different from real life.
Emmet is a 19-year-old autistic young man who becomes fascinated by his neighbor Jeremey and develops a crush on him. I adored Emmet. He made me smile and sometimes laugh because his way of thinking is so matter of fact and well…he’s pretty funny. He accepts his condition and he doesn’t think anything is wrong with him. Emmet is amazingly smart and he is a college student; he’s wicked good with math and numbers. He has “camera memory and camera vision” which means he remembers everything he sees and he has the ability to see an object or person perfectly without looking directly at it.
I loved how Emmet explained his autism, it made a lot of sense, it was very educational, and I can say I learned a lot from it. “Here’s the thing about my brain—it acts like an octopus, my mom says. This is another metaphor, but unlike the spoons, I understand this one. I don’t actually have a mollusk inside my skull, but part of my brain acts like one. It sits quiet until something pokes it, and then it puts tentacles all over and makes me feel nervous. I don’t like this metaphor. An octopus on your brain is bad, even a pretend one, but Mom says we can’t take it out without hurting me, so I live with an octopus. It’s gross, but I can’t change it. So I hum to it and rock and flap my hands.”
Emmet’s autism makes him behave very matter of fact, he would always tell you what he thinks, and while sometimes his words might be offending, his intentions are pure. I loved how he accepted and rationalized Jeremey’s condition; I loved his ways and creative solutions for making everything easier for those around him.
Jeremey is the other main character in this book and he suffers from severe depression and clinical anxiety. When I got to see the world from Jeremey’s point of view my heart broke repeatedly…“part of me wailed and moaned inside the same way Emmet did outside. Hold me, Marietta. Somebody hold me. Somebody speak patiently and kindly to me. Somebody come running to save me too. No one did. No one ever had.”
Jeremey didn’t have a family as awesome and acceptant and Emmet’s, Jeremey’s parents never once tried to accept their son for who he is, never took his condition seriously and so Jeremey has no medical treatment. I hated his mother with an intensity I’ve never felt before and if I had to describe her, I couldn’t say it any better than Emmet did:
“Mrs. Samson is a bitch, Mom.”
She made her lips flat, which means she didn’t like what I said, but she didn’t tell me it
was rude not to say it. Because she knew I was right.
Jeremy and Emmet’s relationship progresses slowly and I really liked that; it was perfect for them and they really grew as individuals while trying to become independent. If you think their sexual relationship is inappropriate or weird because of their conditions, you don’t need to worry. Somehow, Mrs. Cullinan managed to make their sexual interactions quirky, funny, and sweet one moment, and then BAM! It turned into hot as hell. It didn’t seem weird because it’s so well written, all you see are two young men who discover each other’s bodies and their preferences; they try to find the best way to give each other pleasure, be intimate and work around their limitations. I did get a good laugh out of Emmet’s initial reluctance about oral sex:
“I wasn’t sure about oral sex. Sometimes cocks smell.
You’re supposed to call them cocks, not penises, when it’s about sex. I’m not sure why,
but it appears to be the rule. But whatever you call them, they’re sweaty.”
I really loved Emmet’s family and I especially appreciated his mom. She was a great person and I loved how she treated Emmet; he has grown into an amazing independent young man and that’s because of her. Emmet believes his mom is a superwoman who uses her special powers to help him overcome obstacles and I couldn’t agree more. She had the best superpowers of all: love, acceptance, patience, honesty…she was truly amazing!
Both Jeremy and Emmet have their insecurities and doubt at times that they are going to be able to succeed but they never give up. They learn to live with one another and while Emmet does show a lot of growth, Jeremy has changed the most. The love and support he receives from Emmet and the friends he makes along the way help him accept himself and realize that he doesn’t need to change who he is because there is nothing wrong with him.
There is a lot we can all learn from this book and I recommend this to everybody, regardless of what genre you prefer, because this story is a gem and it deserves to be read. I’ll leave you with Emmet’s words of wisdom because Emmet rocks!
“I am normal. I belong. I have a friend who can kick ass from a wheelchair. I live
independently and get good grades. I’m an excellent lover.
Like I said. I’m awesome. I’m Emmet David Washington. Train Man. The best autistic
Blues Brother on the block.”
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *