The Weight of Water is my first experience of a novel written entirely in verse. It's about a twelve year old Polish girl called Kasienka who migrates to the UK with her Mum when her Father runs away with an English woman. Life isn't as rosy as Kasienka imagined it would be; stuck in a one-room studio flat in Coventry and subject to prejudice and bullying at school, Kasienka has to grow up fast.
Reading a novel in verse was a strange experience at first, but after a while I forgot that I was reading poetry and just became wrapped up in the story. Writing it in verse allowed Crossan to really get inside Kasienka's head, meaning that parts of the story had a lot of emotional resonance. The topic of bullying was dealt with very well, reading them I was reminded of what it is like to be a teenager;
"It doesn't matter what I wear.
I always look different:
My clothes are too heavy -
That much I can tell.
And I have no real vision,
I just don't see what's wrong."
The Weight Of Water is a quick read that I breezed through in an afternoon. Whilst I was reading it, I felt connected to Kasienka and engaged to her story. But looking back now, a few days later, the story has had no real impact on me. Although Crossan is strong in dealing with growing up, first love and bullying, lots of the issues around immigration are skimmed over leaving a shallow impression. It's a book that I think could have had a lot more depth than it did.
Verdict: Worth reading if you have never read a novel written in verse before.
First Published: Jan 2012
Score: 3 out of 5