Book Review: The Painted Ocean by Gabriel Packard…

When I was a little girl, my dad left me and my mum, and he never came back. And you’re supposed to be gutted when that happens. But secretly I preferred it without him, cos it meant I had my mum completely to myself, without having to share her with anyone. And I sort of inherited all the affection she used to give to my dad – like he’d left it behind for me as a gift, to say sorry for deserting me
So says eleven year old Shruti of her broken home in suburban middle England. But hopes of her mother’s affection are in vain: speaking little English, and fluent in only Hindi and Punjabi, Shruti’s mother is lost, and soon falls prey to family pressure to remarry. To find another husband means returning to India and leaving Shruti behind.
Meanwhile at school a new arrival, the indomitable Meena, dispenses with Shruti’s bullying problems and transforms her day to day life. Desperate for companionship Shruti latches on to Meena to the point of obsession, following her through high school and on to university. But when Meena invites Shruti to join her on holiday in India, she has no idea how dangerous her obsession will turn out to be…
I was given an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I found the style of language used in writing this story started to grate from around the third page. Shruti’s character was so insipid, I often wanted to put my hands through the page and shake some back bone into her.
The depiction of an Asian teenager’s school struggles were accurate but as time moved on I found it harder to cope with what Shruti’s character was doing and saying.
Her interactions with Meena show just how desperate she was to be liked, even at the darkest points of the story.
WARNING: I will add that this story discusses rape and sexual violence, which the book should carry a trigger warning for.
I’m sorry, but I have to be honest. This story gets a two out of five star score. I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley for my ARC.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Painted Ocean by Gabriel Packard…

  1. Joze

    I actually enjoyed the book, and I don’t think a book needs to “warning label” that it might include things that happen in the world everyday even though they might be horrible things that you might not want to read about. Also, your review isn’t much of a review but more of an opinion?

    “Her interactions with Meena show just how desperate she was to be liked, even at the darkest points of the story.” I think that was probably the point that the author wanted to drive home.

    Some books do not suit everyone’s taste, but I just wanted to note that the book is capable of being enjoyed. There are certain classic books that I don’t care for but that’s not to say that they aren’t well written or developed stories.


    1. Thank you so much for you character assassination of myself and my review. You are the first and only person who has been so negative. As for the trigger warning? As a rape survivor and sufferer of PTSD a warning like that is VERY necessary.
      Good for you, you liked the book. Doesn’t give you the right to be so downright bitchy and horrible. Nothing nice to say? Don’t say anything at all.


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