Going Down by Kate Thompson
Going Down by Kate Thompson

I was going to write a one-word review of Kate Thompsons Going Down. No, I thought, lets try to be constructive.
This book seems to have been written by someone who enjoyed a try-dive and thought it would be a good idea to hang a tired storyline around this exotic sport. Within the first couple of short chapters of what is an overlong book, the outcome is already inevitable.
Considering the length of Going Down, the characterisation is woefully inadequate. We are expected to take the word of our babe heroine, Ella, that someone is either distasteful in the extreme or a dive god. Which is what all male instructors become after passing their IDC, dont ya know!
The books code is easy to decipher: dive god = nice/good/handsome male; babe = nice/good/attractive female; dame = someone Ella dislikes or who is after the man she fancies; nerd = someone Ella dislikes or is who after her job.
The diving sequences are mildly inaccurate, to say the least. We learn that Jamaica provides the pinnacle of tropical diving, that the deeper you dive, the more you see, that NATO has its own submarines and which sea creatures are sensuous to the touch.
In a book in which Ella gets all dolled up in a brand-new tight red leather jacket to perpetuate an image that she is a society it girl, some of the language seems misplaced. Leonie, for instance, must be the hippest grandmother in town, her utterings more appropriate for a 15-year-old kid sister. But who knows, strange things happen in broken Irish families, or so this book would have us believe.
Reading it will do you no harm, but its diving inaccuracies and misconceptions will get your goat. If taken on holiday, it will simply encourage you to go for another dive/swim/snorkel/sauna/drink/game of cards/crossword puzzleÉ anything but Going Down.
Tami Levinson

Going Down by Kate Thompson (Bantam 020 8579 2652). Paperback, 476 pp,£5.99

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