Thursday, June 3, 2010
The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
A delightful comedy of manners about two sisters who must set aside their differences when they inherit a house in the Hamptons.
Half-sisters Cassie and Peck could not be more different. Cassie is a newly divorced journalist with her feet firmly planted on the ground; Peck is a vintage-obsessed actress with her head in the clouds. In fact, the only thing they seem to have in common is their inheritance of Fool's House, a rundown cottage left to them by their beloved Aunt Lydia. But Cassie and Peck can't afford the house, and they can't agree on anything, much less what to do with the place. Plus, along with the house, they've inherited an artist-inresidence and self-proclaimed genius named Biggsy who seems to bring suspiciously bad luck wherever he goes. As these two likable sisters try to understand their aunt's puzzling instructions to "seek a thing of utmost value" from within the house, they're both distracted by romantic entanglements with men from their pasts. The Summer We Read Gatsby, set in the end-of-an-era summer of 2008, is filled with fabulous parties, eccentric characters, and insider society details that showcase Ganek's pitch-perfect sense of style and wit.
When it comes to books labeled as adult reads and me, it's usually a hit or a miss, because of the fact that I am still in the age group designated as teen and sometimes have a hard time relating to adult protagonists. So when it came time to read The Summer We Read Gatsby, I have to admit that even though the cover was pretty and the premise seemed to be intriguing, I was hesitant to begin.
Luckily, The Summer We Read Gatsby was a great read to start the summer season off with, since it's filled with the fabulous back-drop of the Hamptons, funny moments, sweet romance, and two sisters you can't help but love.
Peck and Cassie are sisters whom are basically the definition of polar opposites. Peck is eccentric; someone with impeccable taste; an actress with her head in the stars, still thinking of that summer long ago when she first feel in love with the love of her life that got away. Cassie, on the other hand, is timid, shy, realistic; a girl still reeling over her divorce with That-Awful-Jean Paul and dealing with new feelings for the hot stuff that is Finn. Both were characters that fell under that category of protagonists that the reader would love to have in their own life, because Peck and Cassie are funny and wise beyond their years. And surprisingly enough, both were characters I found easy to relate to, since who hasn't had their head in the clouds wondering how life would've been if that one thing didn't happen, feel in love, dealt with loss of loved ones, or faced tough decisions like Peck and Cassie do in The Summer We Read Gatsby? Plus, I loved the relationship they shared as half-sisters, because it often hit a true part of reality and brought on laugh-out-loud moments for me as the reader.
The plot of The Summer We Read Gatsby was interesting enough, though not nearly as great as the characters it centered around. Though it was still fun to have the Hamptons be the setting, as well as read about the mystery surrounding Fool's House, which I loved the idea of, and Aunt Lydia, who I personally think deserves her own book about her life before she passed away. Also, I liked having The Great Gatsby be a big part of this.
Though there was one aspect that brought down this book, and that was the pacing, since while I did highly enjoy The Summer We Read Gatsby, and the characters of Peck and Cassie, I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes The Summer We Read Gatsby moved unbearably slow, but at the same time I felt that the scenes that were the 'slow' ones were necessary, so I don't know what I would find to be a plausible way to fix this.
In all, The Summer We Read Gatsby is a book I do suggest even with the slight fault it had, and something that I'm sure you'll be seeing lots of women and teens around the beach with this summer, because it really is a great summer read!
The Summer We Read Gatsby is now out! Also to find more about The Summer We Read Gatsby, as well as read an interview with Danielle, be sure to head over to it's official page on Penguin's site.
Source: Artemis at Engelman & Co. Thanks!