Reviews > Published on March 13th, 2017

Bookshots: "Loving the Ocean Won't Keep It From Killing You" by Rachel Bell

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Loving the Ocean Won’t Keep It From Killing You

Who wrote it?

Rachel Bell, a writer based in Chicago.

Plot in a box:

It is rare to read something so personal and hilarious and depressing and beautiful all at once.

A woman attempts to cope with a history of sexual abuse and depression.

Invent a new title for this book:

Uh, I'm sorry, but there’s no way I’m even gonna try coming up with a better title than Loving the Ocean Won’t Keep It From Killing You.

Read this if you like(d):

Books with brutally honest narrators about what it’s like growing up in the Internet age.

Meet the book’s lead(s):


Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Elle Fanning (Neon Demon, 20th Century Women)

Setting: Would you want to live there?

We’re bouncing around from New York City to New Mexico to Ohio and the only place I’d want to spend a significant amount of time is probably New York City.

What was your favorite sentence?

They had sex in the shower and she saw that the tattoo on his chest said “Never Say Die.” While he fucked her from behind she whispered, “Die.” He stopped moving and said “What?”

The Verdict:

Brace yourself for a bullet through the gut. Quick to pierce your flesh, but the pain will be eternal.

Bell’s prose is minimalism at its finest. Each sentence reads like someone’s initials carefully carved into the flesh of a tree. Loving the Ocean is a novella with not a word to spare. Bell takes us on a nonlinear journey through a woman’s history of sexual abuse, lovers, drug addiction, and depression.

It is rare to read something so personal and hilarious and depressing and beautiful all at once. The Internet is a super fucking dangerous tool that can destroy a person’s life and also save it. In Loving the Ocean, Bell shows us just how intense the Internet can make a teenage girl’s life, and how the consequences can affect her for years.

This book is essential reading for every girl coming of age in the 21st century. Hell, it’s essential reading for everybody.

Get Loving the Ocean Won't Keep It From Killing You at Amazon

About the author

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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