AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Eagan

Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Format: Audio
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Narrators: Norbert Leo Butz, Heather Lind, Vincent Piazza

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
15 hours 16 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.


I found this book through my Scribd account. 
This is the first book I've read by Jennifer Eagan. It was picked by my book club so I thought I would give it a go.  It has gotten some really negative reviews but I really enjoyed it. 

I loved the character driven story and watching Anna go from a Naive young girl who idolizes her father to a young woman determined to make her own destiny and ultimately to a grown woman who is still doing things on her own terms.  I loved that the main character is a strong female character and I found it interesting that all the men in her life are so flawed.  Her father who disappears leaving her mother, disabled sister and her to fend for themselves.  Dexter Styles the mobster who really wants to go legit but struggles against the upper powers of his organization and struggles with a wife who is in love with another man and sons who behave frivolously, and a daughter who seems spoiled and entitled. I appreciated how the story comes around and ties the lives of these 3 main characters together in the end.  

Anna works at the naval shipyard putting small parts together for battle ships but longs to be outside.  She has always been drawn to the ocean and when she watches men diving she longs to be a part of it.  Anna is ahead of her time dreaming of jobs only men have, not wanting to be tied to societal norms and wanting to run her own life.  Even when she finds herself in trouble she figures out how to work around it in her own way.  

I really liked the narrators on this book and I loved the historical aspect of it as well.  Very well done if you like character driven stories.

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