The Summer Place, a review by Di

posted in: Di | 0

Jennifer Weiner

Atria Books
May 10, 2022
432 pages

Amazon | Goodreads

There are a few author’s books I automatically read as soon as they are available. Jennifer Weiner is one of them. I was excited when I saw that she had a new book.

The story revolves around one extended family and one particular locale, Summer Place, which has been a meeting place for everyone over the years. A beach house. There is to be a wedding at this home, which (unbeknownst to most) is to be a farewell also, as the matriarch of the family feels that it is time to sell.

The format of the story is different…..each chapter (or section) is from the point of view of a different character. But, it is easy to follow, very cohesive. They are long chapters, lots of time to get involved with the characters’ stories. We learn backstories.

The characters are all interesting. Some are likeable; some, not so much. And everyone has a (gasp!) secret!!! In fact, there were a few moments when I couldn’t keep the secrets straight. It was fun trying to pre-guess what each secret might be. The Summer Place is a limited character too, with thoughts and opinions.

When the time came for everyone to get together at The Summer Place, the story started to come apart for me. Some parts were a little far-fetched. Two of the characters became unlikeable to me. So much happened in a matter of a couple of days that, to me, it felt forced. The secrets were all divulged but that part almost seemed anti-climactic.

I appreciate that some of Ms Weiner’s life experiences factored in the story. She spent time at Cape Cod as a child, then she brought her children there when she became a mother. The fact that the matriarch had a health crisis mirrors Ms Weiner’s recent experience with her own mother. I think that including this in the story would have been cathartic and a tribute to her mother.

I thought that this book would be an automatic home run for me. The first 2/3 of it was good. But, the last part let me down. Judging by the reviews I’ve read, this has not been the case for everyone. I’m glad. Ms. Weiner writes excellent books, hopefully the next one will hit it out of the park for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an Advance Readers copy.

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