Reviews

Responses to Looking Through Water

Amazon Review: Engaging and surprising! I read Judith’s book and loved the story. Judith is an articulate and crisp writer with a fascinating story to tell. Her believable, diverse and thought-provoking characters come alive on the page as they encounter twists and turns in all directions. Surprise encounters, one after another, lead me through a deep story that is believable, sometimes shocking, sometimes humorous, and always full of color. Judith’s book transported me deep into the Oregon woods and introduced me to a cast of characters whose families and psychology of belief systems challenged my own. Entertaining and funny, sometimes dark and foreboding, this book is a smooth read from beginning to end. ~ Amazon Customer Review, 4 stars,  L.N., Food Writer, Real Estate Agent, Portland, OR

Amazon Review: A Delightful and Engaging Read! The journey from child to adult is tough enough without being smaller, younger and smarter than your peers. It doesn’t get any easier if you also possess extraordinary healing powers. In Looking Through Water, Judy Allen’s potent storytelling describes the power of healing and the challenges and responsibilities accompanying such a gift. Set in a small town on the north Oregon coast, the story is told through Addie Sawyer’s eyes as she grows from a precocious four-year old to a college-bound young woman. Alternately fascinated and terrified by her superhuman gift, Addie overcomes numerous challenges on her path to self-discovery. Ultimately she learns that her child’s eye view of her gift was just that, wavy and distorted, like looking through water. Allen’s beautiful and carefully rendered writing immediately engages the reader, places you squarely in each scene, and compels you to root for Addie on every page. A delightful read! ~ Sue Griffith, Amazon Customer Review, 5 stars, Attorney (retired), Boise, ID

This book spoke to the young healer in me, made me ache for the dilemma that the young Addie faces, made me delight in the magic of her budding gift and wish only the best for her. Judith Allen really gets the child’s voice right without having to leave the reader in the dark about what’s going on with the adults in her life. Spanning the narrator’s life from ages 5 to 18 the voice changes seamlessly throughout. Addie and her brother Joe are two characters I’d like to follow to a second novel. Their life on the Oregon Coast is brought to life with a richness that reminds me that beauty and wonder, real characters, connection to the earth and the deeper mysteries of life make for a deeply satisfying read. ~ Amazon Customer Review: 4 Stars; Paula Hills Starr, Sound Healer, Spiritual Teacher, Portland, OR

Amazon Review: Remarkable conflict and insight: Imagine the conflict between a father who is a Fundamentalist Christian and a mother who believes in a broader spiritual realm. Imagine yourself a five year-old girl whose special gifts begin to manifest, first with the ability to see your dead grandfather, people’s auras, and then your neighbor, drowned and lying in the river. Imagine that your gifts grow, despite the family drama that creates, until you can heal the wounded. In Looking Through Water, set in rural, coastal Oregon in the 1940’s, the main character, Addie, grows up with just such a life. She continues to see herself as the agitation that pulls her mother and father apart and her gifts the reason the church elders come to exorcise her spirit and her mother leaves the family for an ashram. As she is left to raise her brother and care for her father, her resentment grows. How she finally comes to reconcile her gifts and her life makes for a spell-binding read. The author, Judith B. Allen, writes with such clear imagery that you swear you have just seen the film. ~ Amazon Customer Review: 5 Stars,  K.K., English Teacher, Writer, Poet, Playwright, Tillamook, OR

Amazon Review: A don’t-miss work! As we observe, we wonder, remark and question the authenticity of metaphysical events.  It is with curiosity and doubt that we examine the possibility of the truthful existence of the magical power of healing by other than medical people, medications or a supreme being….Judith Allen transports us into supportive answers as she looks through the water to deliver us into the mind and the world of Addie an innocent little girl who at the age of four discovers the spirit of aura and then discovers that she is able to use the wondrous gift of a healing touch….Allen presents viable dialog and descriptive surroundings with such clarity that we as readers can move from the smell of sweet dry grass in the field to water misting from a storm as it touches our brow.  Rain pops like popcorn on the roof of an old Chevy and we learn about a spy hopping whale in this true to its era novel.  We can overhear rather than read the conversations and Addie’s own innocent dialog enables us to become involved in the wrongs and the rights of her experiences in the simple small community world of the 1940’s.  It’s a don’t-miss work! ~ 5 Stars,  Dixie Lee Anderson, Writer, Columnist, Mt. Holly, NJ

I just finished reading your book and I love it.  Didn’t want it to end.  Through my tears I replayed things in my own life while growing up. Tried to come to terms with my childhood and the sad memories that still linger in my mind and heart. I’m working on forgiving those who hurt me deeply without their even knowing it.  Letting go of the past I find is very hard but the past is just that, the past, there’s no tomorrow it’s always today. I’m sure that “Looking Through Water” will be a big success. ~ L.C., Co-Owner Men’s Clothing Store, Sylvania, OH

I just finished Looking Through Water! I had to write to tell you what a moving book it was for me for many reasons, and I need to know, is it autobiographical? From squelching my connection to spirit when my parents became concerned about my altar-making efforts, to being told, “You will get baptized” to having a younger (in my case) sister to be responsible for, conservative, controlling father, and Rose’s struggle to balance responsibility and freedom…I was totally involved, totally enraptured, and am totally grateful to you! … Almost feels cathartic, like someone else really understands where I’ve been. You are a gem and a gift and I thank you so much for writing this book.  ~ G.G., Art Teacher, Nehalem, OR

I cried all through the last part. My husband finally looked up from his own reading to say, “Oh, for Pete’s sake!” ~ M., Restaurant Owner, Manzanita, OR

…I am keeping it on my bookshelf!  Sometime next winter I will want to re-read it, partly because it is set close by and you describe the land and the sea so beautifully–more because of the story itself and the nature of healing touch that it reveals. Thank you for writing this book. ~ L., business owner, north Oregon coast

Amazing Book! Once I began reading Looking Through Water I was instantly and magically transported to Addie Sawyer’s mesmerizing, spiritual and challenging world.  I smiled and chuckled at young Addie as she told her compelling story in a sweet, innocent, quirky manner.  I admired her fortitude and perseverance as she faced responsibilities and matured gracefully into a young woman.  This story brought love, heartache and excitement to my world.  It is filled with so many rich characters and descriptions that I reread passages just for the “pure joy” of it.  I didn’t want this story to end but when it did, Addie had become my teacher, my mentor, my friend. S.H., Program Coordinator/Educator, Kent, WA

Characters are the element of a novel that makes me love it or leave it, and little Addie had me hooked from Page 1. Her delightful turns of phrase and vivid word pictures made me feel like I was there with her. She made me laugh and cry, and marvel at her compassion, her insight, her sense of purpose.  She kept me compulsively turning the pages of a book I wanted to savor slowly. I missed her as soon as I finished the last page. ~ D.P., Writer, San Diego

I can’t really pinpoint why your story was so compelling. Maybe because your people were so real and believable. Not just pseudo characters. All of which means it was a super good read. Thank you. Loved the accurate research, the details. Felt like I was there with them for those really few years, and cheered Rose for her courage; not many of us have it. ~ Carol Calder Povey, age 94, “retired´ Creative Director, advertising and marketing, for Oregon products and companies

Looking through Water is a must read book!  There are many great “coming of age” books but this is a great “coming of spirit” story.  Raised by parents with diametrically opposed spiritual beliefs, Allen gives voice to young Addie Sawyer’s questions in her life by using rich characters and descriptions in such a manner that you will want to reread passages just for the pure joy of it.  A must read!  It will not disappoint! G.H., Program Director, Kent, WA

I just finished reading Looking Through Water–the sure sign of a “can’t put it down” book, is reading until the wee hours of morning even when one has to get up at 6 am.  I just couldn’t stop until I finished it!   The book brought up so much for me that as I read I was looking through water–my tears—and wiping them away so I could continue to read the words on the page. A great book Judy. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. ~ L.O.,  Yoga Teacher & non-profit Program Director, Nehalem, OR

I read your novel while we were on vacation and really enjoyed every minute of it. Wow, terrific!  It is a truly interesting story and a pleasure to read. The reader grows in understanding right along with Addie. It’s very touching. Congratulations on this wonderfully successful, beautifully written book.  It works. ~ S., Oregon Realtor

Amazon Review: Loved this book! This is the tale of young Addie Sawyer, who discovers at an early age that her ability to heal with her touch is both a blessing and a curse. Occasionally gut-wrenching, filled with humor, love and loss, Allen’s beautiful prose and lush descriptions of the Oregon Coast make this story of being true to your dreams a ‘must read.’  ~ L. Grieve, Writer and Editor, Battle Ground, WA

Amazon Review: Simply a wonderful book! This book is hard to categorize. It tells a different story to each reader, and I think that is the author’s gift. I loved it, and can’t wait for the sequel. ~ Tori, Civil Engineer, Bellingham, WA

This is a remarkable book. I don’t say that because I know the author. I say that because it is a remarkable book — one that I remember where I was when I read it and the impact it has had on me. Judy is a treasure. ~ David L. Dillon, President, Hoffman Center, Manzanita, OR

I just wanted to write and tell you that I just finished reading your wonderful book, “Looking Through Water.” What a delight! I was hooked from the first page. The story of Addie and her family were portrayed in such a way that I forgot that I was reading fiction. This is just the book we all need in this spiritually challenged world. I laughed, I smiled, I even cried. It’s been a long time since a book got under my skin and into my heart. I certainly will recommend this book to others. Thank you for your gift of writing. It’s truly awesome!
Fran Cosentino, Editor of Miracles magazine and Jon Mundy, Ph.D.’s Assistant (New York)

Amazon Review: This Story Is Stuck In My Head. A beautiful and thought-provoking story of Addie Sawyer, a gifted girl, from age 4 to adulthood. Judy writes through the voice of Addie who struggles to understand the people around her. Addie’s thought processes captivated and delighted me and are very age appropriate. I found myself wanting to read fast (to see what comes next) and to slow down (to make it last longer). I love the setting on the Oregon coast as it is very familiar to me. “Looking Through Water” evoked so many emotions in my soul that a month later I still have not been able to get it out of my head. I have tried to read other books since reading this book but have been unsuccessful in moving on (so far). I eagerly await the arrival of Judy’s sequel. ~ Diane M., Amazon Customer Review, 5 stars, Gresham, OR

I just finished reading Looking Through Water–the sure sign of  a “can’t put it down” book, is reading until the wee hours of morning even when one has to get up at 6 am.  I just couldn’t stop until I  finished it!  The book brought up so much for me that as I read I was looking through water–my tears—and wiping them away so I could  continue to read the words on the page. A great book. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. ~ L.O., Yoga Teacher and non-profit Program Director,  Nehalem, OR

Amazon Review: Loved this book! This is the tale of young Addie Sawyer, who discovers at an early age that her ability to heal with her touch is both a blessing and a curse. Occasionally gut-wrenching, filled with humor, love and loss, Allen’s beautiful prose and lush descriptions of the Oregon Coast make this story of being true to your dreams a ‘must read.’  ~ L. Grieve, Writer and Editor, Battle Ground, WA

Amazon Review: Simply a wonderful book! This book is hard to categorize. It tells a different story to each reader, and I think that is the author’s gift. I loved it, and can’t wait for the sequel. ~ Tori, Civil Engineer, Bellingham, WA

This is a remarkable book. I don’t say that because I know the author. I say that because it is a remarkable book — one that I remember where I was when I read it and the impact it has had on me. Judy is a treasure. ~ David L. Dillon, President, Hoffman Center, Manzanita, OR

Finished reading “Looking Through Water” a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved the book! I can’t believe how many emotions I went through in reading the book and thinking about it since. I was transported. ~ D.M., Retired, Gresham, OR

    I was taken aback, at the skillful engaging writing, and back in time to the childhood of Addie, growing up on the north Oregon Coast in the 1940s and 1950s. I was with her as she grew up, dealing with life on a farm, and life in a complex, conflicted family, and her growing awareness of her special gift of healing. Judy Allen’s weaving of this tale drew me into a rich treasure chest of adventure, memoir, and family life and conflict. This is a gift of great magnitude, and well worth reading. Easily one of my top books of 2011. ~ Neal Lemery, Judge, Tillamook, OR

[Written by a reader to a friend] Thank you so much for sending me the book “Looking Through Water.” I finished it yesterday and just enjoyed reflecting on the lessons taught and the lessons learned. What an incredibly wise woman Judith Allen is! I did love little Addie and how she worked so hard to understand things–first with her mind and then body, then just accepting the mystery of it all. Her gift of healing was so beautifully described and acknowledged as to the immense responsibility and faith one had to have in the process whether someone was “healed” or not. When Rose left the family, it truly was heart breaking and yet, Allen was able to take a non-judgmental stance in her writing about Rose, even though the kids were devastated. Wonderful understanding of all of us “doing the best we can.” My Mom used to say about people, ” If they knew better, they would do better.” If I remember that, I am a lot happier!

I particularly appreciated the struggle that Addie went through trying to reconcile her mother’s metaphysical beliefs with her dad’s fundamental Christian beliefs–especially regarding her gift and whether it was from God or the devil. (Isn’t it marvelous the spin people can put on the poor devil…. he can be made to look like he is doing God’s work-like healing Joe, but really is doing evil… ) Since I grew up in a metaphysical church/family, I was actually shielded from any “contact” with the devil or hell for that matter. It is so easy to see that impressionable little ones would be terrified by the devil and hell!

Addie was very brave in dealing with what was dealt her in her life and what was also beautiful was that she could feel her feelings and have them be OK. No one told her not to cry and not to feel. I loved the relationship she had with Joe even though she had to be parentified. The latter fact could make the Mom out to be not-so-good-a-mom, but when you found out what her own young life had been like, it is easy to see how she had no models of a “good mother” to follow. Addie’s father was a complex character with a side that was very loving and one that was very dark in his Christian “fears.” Clearly Allen was able to describe what I would call expanding in love and contracting in fear in all her characters.

So now I do have to ask you if Judith is a psychic? She writes like she knows what Addie is seeing and feeling. . ~ Ann K., Psychotherapist, Portland, OR

2 responses to “Reviews

  1. I just wanted to write and tell you that I just finished reading your wonderful book, “Looking Through Water.” What a delight! I was hooked from the first page. The story of Addie and her family were portrayed in such a way that I forgot that I was reading fiction. This is just the book we all need in this spiritually challenged world. I laughed, I smiled, I even cried. It’s been a long time since a book got under my skin and into my heart. I certainly will recommend this book to others. Thank you for your gift of writing. It’s truly awesome!
    Fran Cosentino, Editor of Miracles magazine and Jon Mundy, Ph.D.’s Assistant

    • judyallen

      Fran, I just now found your comment, which was apparently left nearly two weeks ago! I need to check in more often! Thank you so much for your comments–your reactions are fuel for my writer’s heart. An emotional response is what we all seek; it means you connected with the characters and the events. Makes me happy.

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