A Review of Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

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Summer Sisters was our book club’s fourth selection. It is the story of Victoria (Vix) and Caitlin, two friends with two very different personalities; Caitlin is the popular girl and Vix is the shy one. When Caitlin invites Vix to spend the summer with her and her dad on Martha’s Vineyard, Vix can’t believe her luck. That summer kick starts Vix and Caitlin’s friendship and from that moment on they’re “summer sisters,” spending every summer together with Caitlin’s father and brother. We’re taken along with them on their turbulent friendship from the 70’s to the 90’s and as they have their ups and downs, they always remain friends.

I had heard this book’s title several times before it was actually chosen for our book club, but I didn’t know anything about it apart from that. I was excited to read it because I knew a few people who really enjoyed it. This story pulled me in right from the start. It’s told over chapters of years and from different character perspectives throughout. We get to see Vix and Caitlin become friends, grow up together, discover their sexuality, suffer losses, experience love and life changes and how all of those things affect their friendship.

I had a hard time putting this book down and read it in two days. I think most girls will be able to relate to this story in some way, whether it’s with Vix or with Caitlin. Summer Sisters ignites a variety of reactions throughout, from happiness, to sadness, to frustration and anger. It left me wanting to read more of Judy Blume’s books that are aimed at an older audience. If you think this sounds like your type of book and you’re thinking of reading Summer Sisters, go for it! I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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Book Club: Books 4, 5, & 6 Selections

The two day voting window for the polls for books 4-6 at Facebook are officially closed and I am pleased to announce the winning books! I will introduce them now with a description of each book as found on Goodreads.

Book Four (June 5 – June 19, discussion at Facebook on June 20):
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

518897When Victoria Leonard answers the phone in her Manhattan office, Caitlin’s voice catches her by surprise.  Vix hasn’t talked to her oldest friend in months.  Caitlin’s news takes her breath away–and Vix is transported back in time, back to the moment she and Caitlin Somers first met, back to the casual betrayals and whispered confessions of their long, complicated friendship, back to the magical island where two friends became summer sisters.

Caitlin dazzled Vix from the start, sweeping her into the heart of the unruly Somers family, into a world of privilege, adventure, and sexual daring.  Vix’s bond with her summer family forever reshapes her ties to her own, opening doors to opportunities she had never imagined–until the summer she falls passionately in love.  Then, in one shattering moment on a moonswept Vineyard beach, everything changes, exposing a dark undercurrent in her extraordinary friendship with Caitlin that will haunt them through the years.

As their story carries us from Santa Fe to Martha’s Vineyard, from New York to Venice, we come to know the men and women who shape their lives.  And as we follow the two women on the paths they each choose, we wait for the inevitable reckoning to be made in the fine spaces between friendship and betrayal, between love and freedom.

Book Five (June 21 – July 5, discussion at Facebook on July 6):
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

30868Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

Book Six (July 9 – July 23, discussion at Facebook on July 26):
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

7788995Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G!

In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”