GEORGIA UNDER WATER by Heather Sellers


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The travails of a poor Florida family, chronicled in a debut collection of interconnected stories.

Buck Jackson, a vicious, womanizing alcoholic, beats his cringing wife Mary Carolyn (MC) while their 12-year-old daughter Georgia and her younger brother Sid cower under the coffeetable. Besides watching their parents fight, these unlovely brats have few amusements other than swimming and picking their scabs, which they munch potato-chip style. After brutal Buck threatens to leave MC on the grounds that she’s no fun anymore, Sid tries to distract him by hanging from the balcony of their 23rd-floor condo. Buck yanks him back but not before MC drives the family car into the ocean. It’s clear that this marriage can’t be saved. Still, life goes on. Georgia’s growing up fast, and she attempts to satisfy her burgeoning sexual curiosity by rubbing up half-naked against her drunken father. He rebuffs her, and MC flees with both children, even though she claims she doesn’t want a divorce. Georgia decides to live with Buck—a lowlife idyll that ends when her mother catches her watching porno movies with her loathsome dad and his repellent pals. Georgia continues to amuse herself by attracting and rejecting every red-blooded cracker within sniffing distance, including Oscar Love, a teenaged Lothario with a port-wine facial birthmark in the shape of Florida (the author is nothing if not loyal to her native state). Buck continues to drink, and smashes up a big ol’ car while carousing with his equally disgusting brothers. But colon cancer stops him in his tracks, and Georgia crashes his Olds in turn, upset when he enters the hospital for surgery. The grieving girl, now 15, consoles herself with a little meaningless sex with a scrawny construction worker. . . .

Squalor galore, for those who enjoy it.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-889330-56-6
Page count: 220pp
Publisher: Sarabande
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2001