Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Summer Sisters: Judy Blume
My mom is an excellent book shopper. She is always on the lookout for new books for me. As a result, my bookshelves are overflowing with little gems like this one. Honestly, I think the only reason she picked this one up was because of the cover. When I was a kid I was unable to articulate Adirondack, and instead called these lovely beach chairs "Adirdondack" chairs. To this day, she and I point to them and gleefully announce that we've spotted an Adirdondack chair.
Summer Sisters is one of Judy Blume's adult novels. Anyone familiar with her early readers books will recall her easy and familiar writing style. That same writing talent is present in this story about two girls who have nothing in common. Victoria--called Vix--is a shy, quiet girl, living a quiet life with her family until she meets Caitlin in the summer of 1977. Caitlin is fun and vibrant and exciting. The new girl in school, Caitlin is instantly popular, so Vix is shocked when she is chosen as Caitlin's summer guest. They spend that first summer together on Martha's Vineyard with Caitlin's family, sharing secrets and creating pacts that will last a lifetime. As they grow up, Caitlin and Vix have a tumultuous friendship, full of betrayals and promises. Caitlin's family takes Vix in as one of their own, so she is forever linked to the vivacious girl of her childhood summers, long after the excitement of their friendship has dimmed. As Vix matures, she begins to see Caitlin for what she really is--flighty and selfish. However, when Caitlin calls, asking Vix to be her Maid of Honor, Vix knows she'll say yes to her summer sister.
So, of course, I can't argue with the incomparable storytelling skill of Ms. Blume. The writing is terrific and the story...well, the story is what gets me. Frankly, I would have expected more intrigue from Judy Blume. This was little more than your average airplane paperback. The plot wasn't exactly notable. Some of the plot elements were hard for me to swallow. And I had a hard time liking Caitlin. She seemed bossy and selfish, and I couldn't understand why a sensible girl like Vix would fall for someone like that.
I can't totally discredit this book though, because I really like some of the secondary characters. For example, Caitlin's step-mom, Abby, is wonderful. She's nurturing, and she tries so hard to open up her heart to her blended family, and she welcomes Vix into her home like her one of her own children. Except Caitlin is resistant and totally snubs Abby, which is just one more reason not to like Caitlin.
For me, this book is middle of the road. It's great writing, and it's certainly interesting. But I'm not gonna lie, I kind of expected more.
Rating: $ 1/2