Deeper than the Sea, written by Nelika McDonald, is about Theo and Beth, mother and daughter. However after sixteen years a stranger appears and changes Beth’s life forever as the truth about who she is and where she comes from is revealed.
The characters in Deeper than the Sea are richly constructed. The character of Theo, Beth’s mother, slowly unravels across her lifespan and reveals a women who doubts herself, feels like she is second best to most and is seeking love and normalcy. Theo is strong, independent and willing to do whatever she can for Beth. The love and strength that she shows is beautiful. Beth is a normal 16-year-old, pushing some boundaries and seeking her independence. As her life begins to unravel her grasps on being an adult are filled with strength and independence, just like her mother.
I enjoyed Deeper than the Sea. The narrative is rich, the characters are complex and realistic. It also weaves in the concept of what a mother is – is the one who gives birth, one who raises a child or who the child chooses. This is still a taboo subject in many ways in our society, as we place motherhood and birthing on a pedestal with expectations and boundaries. I like that this book raises these issues and allows for space for motherhood to be different things to different people depending on their abilities and opportunities.